'For the littlest patients': Toronto grandmother knits over 100 teddy bears for SickKids

Alice Bainbridge and her collection of handmade teddy bears destined for SickKids Hospital. (Courtesy of Sheryl Lorefice/Dreamstime)

Alice Bainbridge started knitting teddy bears a few years ago when her husband fell ill to pass the time spent in hospital.

When he returned home, he was housebound, so Bainbridge continued her newfound hobby, showing him each one when finished, proclaiming, “another one bites the dust!”

After Bainbridge accumulated 20 handmade bears, her daughter, Sheryl Lorefice, a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at The Hospital for Sick Kids (SickKids) in Toronto, suggested donating them to the newborn babies on her unit.

Although Bainbridge’s husband passed away in August of 2020, she continues to knit the bears, now for the children at the NICU, still showing the completed bears to her late husband’s photo, ensuring he knows that another one has “bitten the dust.”

“When the pandemic began, she obviously couldn't go out anywhere or do anything, so she was just at home and she kept knitting and knitting,” Lorefice told CTV News Toronto.

Now, Bainbridge has over 125 bears ready to donate to SickKids — once they can safely accept donations.

“We're hoping by fall. We’ll start being able to accept the donations and then she can hand them all in,” Lorefice said.

“By the time SickKids is accepting donations again, she will have well over 200 done,” she continued.

When asked how she’s so committed to making the toys, Bainbridge told CTV News Toronto that she makes “each one with a grandma’s love for the littlest patients at the hospital.”