Below is a testimonial from Michelle Fonticiella about her personal experience with Adopt A Bear.

Earlier this year, I suffered a frightening experience with my two-year-old daughter every parent would dread to go through. My perfectly healthy baby girl, Sophia, woke up one morning to stumble into a tonic seizure. Immediately, I frantically dialed 911. Watching her not breathe for one minute seemed like hours. I was finally lulled as I saw her chest begin to rise and fall again. Four minutes later, while still in a frenzied state, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived. While inside the ambulance, Sophia began coming out her seizure. Kicking and screaming as she was alarmed and confused over what was happening, Sophia was comforted by the sight of a teddy bear. The teddy bear soothed her.

We were rushed to Miami Children’s Hospital where she was instantly admitted to run exams. Through every exam and for the next few days Sophia kept her bear near her side. Three days later, we were discharged. As we were packing our things, I immediately grabbed the bear to bring him home. It will be something I will keep forever – I thought – to remind us of the most fearful moment of our lives. It was at that moment that my husband suggested we give the bear to the boy we shared a room with, who was in an unpleasant state. Sophia and I agreed. She walked over to him and handed him the bear, followed by an “I hope you feel better”. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

I was instantly grateful for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the wonderful staff at Miami Children’s Hospital and Adopt a Bear, which in a time of great need, helped keep Sophia’s spirit up.

Since then, Sophia has been diagnosed with a mild case of cortical dysplasia, a malformation in the brain. Although it is something we will always keep an eye on, luckily, she has not shown any signs of it or had any more seizures. She continues to be a strong, healthy child, running around, making all of us laugh.

Thank you, Adopt a Bear – for your great efforts and hard work.

– Michelle Fonticiella


Adopt-a-bear is a grassroots non-profit campaign dedicated to fighting child abuse. Our daily mission is to help comfort abused, neglected and abandoned children – one teddy bear at a time!

At the core of our adoption effort is the experience of children helping children. The “adoption” of the teddy bear by one child for another who is less fortunate, is a treasured gift for all. Of course, we encourage loving adults to adopt as well.

The campaign was created by Investigative Journalist Michele Gillen in response to state budget cuts that endangered the gifting of bears by our Juvenile Court Judges. Thanks to you, the bears are being rescued – and so are the children.

Michele Gillen

Michele GillenMichele Gillen is the founder of the Adopt-A-Bear campaign. She served as Chief Investigative Reporter at WFOR-TV, Miami, Florida for 19 years. Gillen is a well recognized anchor and investigative reporter on both network and local television news, is the recipient of 38 National Academy of Television Arts and Science (NATAS) Emmy awards, the Columbia DuPont Silver Baton, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, three Green Eyeshade Awards, and has been honored twice by the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. Read her full profile at www.MicheleGillen.com.