FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Autumn Swank seems wise beyond her years. “It’s not about the gifts you receive. It’s about the love that comes come from them,” the 11-year-old explained with a smile.
Autumn’s bright outlook is quite extraordinary considering the young girl from Fort Worth faces an uphill battle. “I’m a fighter and I will beat cancer,” Autumn proclaimed.
You would think that an 11-year-old, battling brain-stem cancer, would have more things to worry about than other children. Not Autumn. “I wanted to make kids feel like they’re special.”
That’s exactly how she felt when she received her first teddy bear two years ago in her hospital room. So naturally for her 10th birthday, she asked for more teddy bears; lots of teddy bears. Not for her mind you, but for other children. “It makes me feel like I’m doing something good for other children and maybe even adults.”
The first bears came from her family; then friends started buying them and then friends of friends joined in. Autumn was soon delivering hundreds of teddy bears to hospitals and fire stations in North Texas, so they could pass them on to frightened children in need of love.
Autumn’s latest drop off occurred in a courtroom in Fort Worth. She delivered 85 stuffed animals for child victims of crime who will soon testify in court.
“Their eyes get wide open and they just want to hug the bear,” explained Blanca Burciaga. Burciaga works for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Unit. ”You can just tell sometimes it helps to alleviate some of that tension and fear,” she added.
Despite two years of radiation and chemotherapy, Autumn fights on. ”I’m going to keep giving until they (the bears) stop coming,” said Autumn. “I still want to spread the love.”
For those who want to donate new teddy bears or for agencies willing to distribute the bears to needy children, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.