Taylor’s Teddy Bears Travels to Gainesville
The teddy bear is a simple thing.
They’re colorful and cuddly.
They’re soft and sweet.
It’s an innocent toy filled with so many playful memories.
“He took Chevy everywhere," Megan Bishop said, “That was his best friend."
Chevy was the best friend of Bishop's four year old son Taylor.
“Taylor was an old soul,” she said, “I say it all the time. Wise beyond his years. He just had the funniest jokes. I miss him so much.``
Nearly two years ago was the last time Bishop saw Taylor hold chevy.
“They always say the first of everything is hard, but when you lose a child, there's so many firsts,” Bishop said, “His first day of kindergarten was well after the one year mark. I'll miss his first T-ball game, his first soccer game. I'll miss his first high school dance. There's so many firsts that I won't get to see and that's hard."
A plane crashed into Megan and Taylor's car just outside North Perry Airport.
Chevy, a blue Hot Wheels 50 year anniversary Build-a-Bear, was recovered from the accident and returned to Megan's arms.
“After the accident, and I had chevy back, I knew I wanted to do something to make sure that Taylor's legacy would live as long as he was supposed to live. And I knew I wanted it to involve bears because of Chevy."
She created a non-profit that gets stuffed animals to first responders. The goal is to provide children with a little bit of Taylor. And now, Taylor's Teddy Bears has made its way to Gainesville.
"Taylor is more than just a boy who passed away in a plane crash,” Arielle Kraus said, “He deserves to be more than that, and I just wanted the UF community to be involved in that."
One of the biggest drives to date happened at Megan’s place of work.
She works at Hollywood Hills Elementary School and brought in nearly 2,700 bears.
Arielle’s mom works at the school with Megan which is how she got involved. She helped make fliers, plan and organize the events. She is now leading the charge at the University of Florida
A bin is set up in the HPNP building at UF for people to drop off their cuddly friends.
Cuddly friends that encapsulate the boy Taylor was and the legacy he represents.
“I love him and I miss him,” Megan said, “I tell people all the time that the accident seems like yesterday, but it feels like I've lived 100 lifetimes since I got to hold him. And I just hope I'm making him proud."The drive at the University of Florida will continue through Thursday. An amazon wishlistwill remain up even after that deadline closes.