A new product from Vermont Teddy Bear of Shelburne embraces physical differences among its customers.
The company’s limb loss and limb difference bears are customizable to match the type of limb loss of the people who’ll receive them.
“Occasionally, we would have a request for a bear with limb loss, but this is our first time officially introducing a bear with limb loss,” said Cassandra Clayton, a product designer for Vermont Teddy Bear.
The new bear line launched Thursday, and is part of the company’s “Bears that Care” initiative, which both calls attention to and raises money for worthy causes.
A fifth of the sales from the $60-and-up offerings in the line will be donated to the Amputee Coalition, the company announced.
The national advocacy group says each day, 500 Americans undergo amputation. Also, every year, more than 1,000 babies are born with a limb difference, the Amputee Coalition says.
Vermont businesswoman Eileen Casey, who lost part of her leg to bone cancer, said she was glad to hear about this latest offering from Vermont Teddy Bear.
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“It helps you to accept your body the way it is–missing a limb,” Casey told necn, describing what it’s like to see products in the marketplace that reflect customers’ physical differences.
The Amputee Coalition expects by 2050, 3.6-million people in the U.S. will be living with limb loss.
“That’s a very, very difficult thing because it’s a very traumatizing event to lose a limb,” Casey said, adding that everything changes when someone’s body changes, including their mobility, the way they do chores or their job, and simple tasks like clothes shopping.
The amputee, who enjoys running and skiing thanks to special prostheses, said she believes many amputees or people born with limb differences—especially children—would appreciate a little extra comfort like what the Vermont-made teddy bears aim to provide.
“I think it sends a great message out to the world that you should love the body that you’re in,” Casey beamed.
Vermont Teddy Bear’s designer told necn affiliate NBC 5 News that she is already working to improve these newly-offered limb difference bears. Clayton said she is trying to come up with ways to craft stuffed animals that have prosthetic limbs.