New CeCe Bear® Initiative to Provide Comfort and Financial Support to Children and Families Affected by Pediatric Epilepsy

CeCe Cares Pediatric Epilepsy Foundation Kicks Off New Initiative at Leading Pediatric Epilepsy Centers Nationwide

Chicago (December 1, 2011)-- CeCe Cares Pediatric Epilepsy Foundation, a 501(C)(3) public charity, is proud to announce the launch of its CeCe Bear Initiative which, with the help of the nation's leading pediatric epilepsy centers and the North American Bear Company, will address the emotional trauma and financial burden associated with pediatric epilepsy.

After losing a daughter Cecelia to Dravet Syndrome, a catastrophic  form of pediatric epilepsy, Chicago parents Peter and Sarah Cunningham wanted to pay forward a simple, yet impactful, gift of a stuffed animal at a stressful time and to find a way to help relieve the financial strain felt by families.

Each year, more than 120,000 children are diagnosed with epilepsy.  More than 30% have seizures that cannot be controlled by modern medicine and are usually referred to specialized pediatric epilepsy centers.  For the children, time spent in the hospital can be among the most traumatic in their lives, and for the families the financial burden can be upwards of $3,000 a month for medication alone, and that is not including the additional out of pocket expenses associated with travel, accommodations, treatments, and specialized devices required to provide appropriate care for the child.

Instead of simply writing a check, donors to CeCe Cares sponsor a teddy (CeCe) Bear for $39.99.  The 22-inch CeCe Bear® provides comfort to a child being treated in one of the leading pediatric epilepsy centers across the country, while the balance of the proceeds is applied to help families burdened with the high cost of medical care through financial grants and related programs.

In its inaugural year, CeCe Cares raised enough funds to donate 2,000 bears which will begin in December in time for the holiday season as well as provided financial grants to families across the country.  The first CeCe Bear ® was ceremonially delivered to Dr. Sookyong Koh, who treated Cecelia during her time spent at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago on November 30th as part of the hospital celebration of Epilepsy Awareness Month.

“Dr. Koh was instrumental in helping us design the format of the CeCe Cares Pediatric Epilepsy Foundation,” said co-founder Pete Cunningham. “It seemed only natural for the first bear to be presented to her. The energy at our first bear presentation has given all of us involved such excitement for the remainder of the bear donations across the country.”

The CeCe Bear® was designed by Cecelia’s twin sister Reese in conjunction with the North American Bear Company’s “My Own Bear” project.  The company is providing the design leadership, manufacturing and distribution of the bears as part of the program.

“The power of the teddy bear cannot be underestimated,” stated Melissa Bullock, Vice President of Marketing at North American Bear Company. “We are thrilled to have foundations such as CeCe Cares utilizing our My Own Bear program to raise money for an important cause."

Media Contact:

Michelle McRae
CeCe Cares Pediatric Epilepsy Foundation
michelle@cececares.org
312.961.4745

Family interviews and event photos are available by request.

About CeCe Cares Pediatric Epilepsy Foundation:

Chicago-based, CeCe Cares Pediatric Epilepsy Foundation is national organization dedicated to reducing the emotional trauma and financial burden associated with pediatric epilepsy. Our mission is carried out primarily through two unique programs which include the CeCe Bear® Initiative and the Child Assistance Grant Program. For more information or to sponsor a CeCe Bear®, please visit:  www.cececares.org

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