Campbell Remess: 11 year old charitable teddy bear maker extraordinaire

"It's bedtime so I have to stop now but this is going to be Harper. My Aunty Marlene was Harper so I called this one ...
"It's bedtime so I have to stop now but this is going to be Harper. My Aunty Marlene was Harper so I called this one after her. She is going to be a winner bear and go to the kids at oncology." Photo: Project 365 by Campbell

To whoever rags on our youngest generations, we say Campbell Remess.

This 11-year-old from Acton Park, Tasmania took it upon himself to start an unusual hobby; making teddy bears for sick children.

Two years later, his crafting is still going strong. He has made and distributed over 150 bears (and more than 500 gifts in total) to illness-stricken kids, and has been nominated for the Pride of Australia medal for his selfless efforts.

Campbell in teddy-making mode.
Campbell in teddy-making mode.  Photo: Project 365 by Campbell

Campbell's inspiration struck one Christmas Eve. After spontaneously gifting his florist mum, Sonya's spare flowers to locals, his thoughts compassionately turned to those younger and much less fortunate. After requesting his mum buy presents for all hospital-bound kids to no avail, he decided to make them himself. "He's very stubborn", explains Sonya.

From then, the self-taught teddy maker stitched away (only with the help of sewing kit instructions) and documented his giving spree in true Millennial style on Facebook.

Thankfully, young Campbell is spared the impossible task of choosing beneficiaries of his fluffy goodwill. "I give them to the hospital and they put [the teddies] on the beds waiting for new patients", he says.

Some of Campbell's kindhearted creations.
Some of Campbell's kindhearted creations. Photo: Project 365 by Campbell

Although teddies and anonymous giving are his specialties, sometimes the rules don't apply. When a mum posted that her son, Trystan, who had leukaemia, wanted a 'cold' blanket on her son's Facebook page; Campbell intuitively understood him. "He means one made of cotton or calico because it's not fluffy and warm", he clarified to Sonya, and promptly made a crocodile-embroidered calico blanket for the sick boy.

And the caring didn't stop there. A year on, he sewed a bespoke 'winner' bear named Alfie for Trystan, "to help him win over his cancer". Tristan's mother, too, was sent some cuddly comfort, "cause it's pretty rough on her", says Sonya.

Unlike many celebrity benefactors, Campbell's giving is no mere publicity stunt; most of his pocket money and after school hours are spent in teddy production. Unsolicited donations of materials, from scrap pieces and wadding to eyes and noses, have kept his altruistic toy manufacturing going.

Not only is Campbell an extraordinarily charitable kid, he's also incredibly financially savvy.  Realising the auctioning of his bears could raise funds after people offered to buy them; he started doing just this. His latest bear to go under the hammer will be for the Fred Hollows Foundation, which he heard about on 60 Minutes.

You won't be hearing about Campbell Remess & Co., bear manufacturer, anytime soon though. "It's his little project that he does at his little desk in his little bedroom", says Sonya. With his comforting playthings already warming the beds and hearts of sick kids across the country, it appears things are exceptional just as they are.

To get in touch or contribute to Campbell's teddy-making, you can visit his Facebook page or email him.

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