The campaign, running throughout October, is inspired by Ava’s Chain of Kindness, a long line of bears spreading kindness across the country.
Ava Cottle, two, sadly passed away on Mothering Sunday due to leukemia. Mum Cherry Cottle and her friend Sam Gosby launched the chain to spread kindness and raise money for Young Lives vs Cancer, which had supported the family.
Sam said: “Ava is the inspiration behind the chain of kindness. Whilst organising some special events for Ava’s family to help make some lasting memories in the last of Ava’s life, I realised that kindness still exists in people.
“I spoke to so many people for help and not one person said no, so let’s spread the kindness shown to Ava and her family. At a time when we can’t hold hands, our teddy bears can.”
The first bear was decorated by Ava, the day before she died. Cherry and Ava’s dad Lee hope the chain, which started in Dagenham, will help children feel belonging and inclusion, as it connects people of all ages and backgrounds across the UK.
Morrisons is continuing the chain in memory of Ava to raise more money for the charity. Individual bears can be decorated and added to the chain.
Alison Whitburn, community champion at the Littlehampton store, said: “We are proud to be supporting Ava’s Chain of Kindness this October while also fundraising for Young Lives vs Cancer. Every pound raised and every teddy bear decorated helps Young Lives vs Cancer be there to help families in West Sussex and around the UK cope following a devastating cancer diagnosis.”
Cherry is asking supporters to write a message on their bear. All the chains will eventually be joined together. Visit Ava’s chain of kindness. on Facebook to follow the progress.
Becky Clements, fundraising and engagement manager at Young Lives vs Cancer, said: “When cancer strikes young lives, we fight tirelessly to limit the damage it causes beyond their health. We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work and so we can’t thank Cherry, Lee and Sam enough for their fantastic efforts.
“We were so sorry to hear about Ava – it’s really wonderful to see Cherry and Sam doing such a fantastic thing to connect children around the UK with the support of Morrisons colleagues and customers, creating something positive in Ava’s memory.
“Thanks to Cherry and Morrisons colleagues and customers, we will be able to help even more children and young people thrive not just survive after their cancer diagnosis.”
To get involved with Ava’s Chain of Kindness, email Becky at [email protected]
To support the family’s fundraising efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/team/avacottlefund