Creative marketing agency ThinkOTB was among the sponsors giving shoppers in Leeds a surprise on Sunday (September 17) when 35 colourful, super-sized bear sculptures paraded through the centre of the city.
Hundreds of volunteers, fundraisers, sponsors, and children from Leeds Children’s Hospital took part in the parade to raise awareness and funds for Leeds Hospitals Charity.
During the course of the summer, the colourfully decorated bears had featured around the centre of Leeds as a free art trail. Each bear, positioned on a plinth, told the story of a poorly child who had benefited from treatment from the Leeds Children’s Hospital.
ThinkOTB sponsored Bloom the bear, who was representing Rosie Gill, 15, from The Peak District, who has Alagille syndrome – a genetic illness which affects her liver and heart. Gill proudly walked with her mum Claire, dad Chris, and brother, Oliver, 12, and Bloom.
Rosie’s mum said: “Rosie is very proud and attached to her bear. Every time we make a trip to Leeds, we go and visit it. We’re hoping Rosie’s bear, Bloom, raises lots of money for the Leeds Hospitals Charity to fund the Leeds Children’s Hospital, to help benefit other children like Rosie.”
Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder in which you have fewer bile ducts than normal in your liver. It can not only affect the liver, it can also cause skin, heart, facial, kidney, and eye abnormalities.
Mark Davies, ThinkOTB Chairman and a trustee of the Leeds Hospitals Charity, took part in the parade alongside ThinkOTB Managing Director, Joanne Waddington.
Davies said: “It was very emotional walking with Rosie and her family and humbling to hear their story first-hand of how Leeds Children’s Hospital has helped Rosie. The bears have created optimism and joy for many poorly children.”
The bear sculptures were inspired by the award-winning TV animation based on Michael Rosen’s best-selling children’s book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, published by Walker Books.
Joanne Waddington, Managing Director of ThinkOTB, said: “Taking part in the parade and sponsoring a bear was an opportunity for us as a business to support our local community and the vital work of Leeds Hospitals Charity, which makes such a profound difference to the lives of so many poorly children, like Rosie, and their families.”
The bears will be reunited for a final weekend at Leeds City Museum on Saturday & Sunday, September 23 and 24, before being auctioned off for the charity on September 28 at the museum.