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Build-A-Bear Now Making Hospital Rounds

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News
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A child makes stuffed animals at a Build-A-Bear Workshop in Minnetonka, Minnesota. (credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

A child makes stuffed animals at a Build-A-Bear Workshop in Minnetonka, Minnesota. (credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Have you been inside any hospitals lately? They’re catering to visitors with things like McDonald’s restaurants and Starbucks coffee shops.

And now, Cook Children’s Hospital has become the first in the nation with something every kid is sure to love.  Recovery for kids like 10-year-old Maria Pedroza now includes Build-A-Bear therapy.

“The bear? I was excited,” Maria admitted.  She had been in the hospital since Valentine’s day, when she fractured some vertabrae in her spine.  “I was popping my neck and I just lost the movement in my arms and feet and I had to come over here in a helicopter,” Maria said.

Now, she has some choices to make.  “Well, I’m going to put a heart on it,” Maria said referring to a bunny bear she chose to build.

Child life specialists say, something as simple as building a bear can help rebuild confidence to a child in the hospital.  “So, deciding whether they want a bear or a bunny or sparkly shoes or plain shoes. It just gives them so many choices that they get to make for themselves,” Amber Lafferty explained.

And now, Maria has a friend to share her feelings with.

Lafferty said, “It can almost be her memory of how hard she had to work when she was here.”

Maria’s bunny bear is kind of like a trophy for having persevered.  “Well, it was the worst experience but the best lessons of patience. Lots of patience,” she said.

The new Build-A-Bear Workshop at Cook Children’s Medical Center opens Friday.

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