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Tufts E-News --Toy Story

Tufts E-News --Toy StoryAsMayor Thomas Menino looks for a new home for Boston’s famousFAO Schwarz Bear, Tufts-New England Medical Center’s FloatingHospital for Children could be the perfect fit.Boston

Boston [08.19.04] Boston’s three-ton FAO Schwarz teddy bear – describedby Mayor Thomas Menino as “a beloved Boston landmark”– is looking for a new home. Over the last few months, Meninohas been fielding suggestions from kids around the world as towhere the massive statue - which was sculpted by a Tufts graduateand currently sits outside of the former toy store downtown –should reside. Among the top choices: the Floating Hospital forChildren at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts School ofMedicine's primary teaching hospital.

“Ifdesire and enthusiasm have anything to do with getting the bear,it's coming to the Floating Hospital,'' hospital spokeswoman CatherineBromberg told The Boston Herald.

Founded in1894 as a hospital ship sailing in Boston Harbor, the FloatingHospital has been affiliated with Tufts for decades. All full-timephysicians at the hospital – which is home to the nation’sfirst pediatric trauma center exclusively for children - holdfaculty appointments at the Tufts School of Medicine.

The bearitself has a special connection to Tufts: It was created by sculptorand Tufts graduate, Robert Shure. Shure is responsible for suchnotable landmarks as the Korean War Monument in The CharlestownNavy Yard and the George Washington Memorial at the WashingtonMonument in Washington D.C., as well as familiar works includingthe Ted Williams Tunnel plaque and the bronze sculptures of marathonrunners at Copley Square Park.

Voicing theirsuggestions in crayon and magic marker, many children liked theidea that the bear would find a new home near a hospital.

Accordingto The Boston Globe, nine-year-old Ashlyn Howard of Winthropwrote, “If the bear gets sick he can go see one of the doctorsor nurses and they will give him medicine to feel better,”saying that he was concerned about the bear’s health, andfelt it should be placed near a hospital.

A boy fromHingham agreed. In his letter to the city, he said the bear wouldfit right in at the Floating Hospital - known for its philosophyof family centered care - near Chinatown because “It likesChinese food and helping kids,” he wrote, according to theGlobe.

Whereverit may be, the bear’s new home needs to satisfy certaincriteria. “The site must be able to withstand the weightof the bear, be 'kid friendly,' be accessible to the public, andprovide access for the handicapped,” reported the Globe.

With morethan 7,000 suggestions coming from 34 states and five countries- including Ethiopia and Pakistan – as to where the bearshould be relocated, the mayor has had his hands full trying topick the landmark’s next home.

Some peoplewished the bear would stay right where it is, while others hadrather large ambitions for it, including one writer who suggestedsending it to the moon. But Menino told The Boston Globethat the best suggestions he had received since asking the city’schildren to send him their ideas were the Floating Hospital, Children’sHospital and the Franklin Park Zoo.

“Iwish I could get the same interest in the issues I develop,”he told the Globe before announcing the three finalists.

The FloatingHospital for Children serves as the Tufts-New England MedicalCenter’s full-service pediatric facility, accommodatinginfants to young adults with a comprehensive range of servicesfrom prevention and primary care to the most sophisticated treatmentof rare and unusual conditions.

The hospital boastsa Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and a Level III Newborn IntensiveCare Unit. In 1990, its researchers developed what is now calledSimilac – the infant formula used to nourish millions ofinfants around the world.

Mayor Menino will announcethe teddy bear’s new home in mid-September. Children whovoted for the winning location will join the mayor at the bear’snew home for an ice cream celebration.

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