The adventures of Jane and Charles
‘Travel Buddies’ initiative a unique fundraiser for Janeway
Jane and Charles are ready to take to the skies, go for a drive, hang out with a family in any part of the world, attend a birthday party, a weekend away at a cabin or simply come into your home for an afternoon of fun or relaxation.
Named after Dr. Charles A. Janeway, the physician who founded the province’s only children’s hospital and rehabilitation centre in 1966, the bears are part of a unique fundraising project called “Travel Buddies.”
Seven-year-old Jorja Hinks and her 13-year-old brother Kirkland Legge are the children behind this unique fundraiser for the Janeway.
“We were in the airport on our way home from our family vacation and I was playing with my stuffed animal,” Jorja recalls.
“I thought it would be really cool if every one of my friends had a little bear that they could take on vacation. Then Mom (Tracy Langdon) thought it would be a good idea if we could do it as a little fundraiser,” she adds.
After purchasing Charles and Jane and a third bear they’ve named Peggy, after the childrens’ greatgrandmother who passed away of breast cancer eight years ago, the family contacted the Janeway Foundation to see if it would come onside to support the initiative.
Langdon said the foundation, and in particular its manager of community initiatives Jenine Kerrivan, thought the idea was a great one and have since posted a link to the bear’s Facebook page on the foundation’s website.
While the project started with two bears, the family has already grown to 30 teddy bears thanks to a generous donation to the Janeway.
Each bear comes with its own personal journal. The family encourages people who take a bear to write in the journal as a way to remember the trip.
Those taking a bear are also asked to take pictures of the adven- ture as another way to record the fun.
The family has named about 10 bears so far. They are not in a hurry to name them all, Landgon said, as each name needs to be unique to each bear.
“We have a birthday bear called Wishes. Jane and Hilary and Peggy are currently in Europe. Hilary is named after a girl in our community who had cancer. Hilary took Hilary to Europe,” Langdon said.
By the time this story is published, a bear named Jackson will be off on a Caribbean vacation in St. Lucia.
“I don’t know the singer Alan Jackson but he was my nan’s favourite singer, so that’s where he got his name. To remember Nan,” Kirkland said.
Jane has already gone on a ski trip with the family to their cabin in Bonne Bay, and Charles has been to San Francisco, Hawaii and Las Vegas.
Jorja has started a group called ‘Friends on the Move,’ where she and her friends get together every month for fun activities. Peggy has already gone on outings with the children.
Peggy was also in the audience when Jorja performed at a skating competition in Mount Pearl recently.
“Blaze is my favourite. He’s bright orange but he’s a bit white, too. He’s with Jenine (Kerrivan) now in Cuba,” Jorja adds.
There’s also a brown bear with a blue tie that the family has named Furey in honour of local cardiolo- gist Dr. Michael Furey.
“He put in Cory’s first pacemaker when Cory was only 13 and he’s been continually looking after him,” Langdon said of her husband Cory Raymond – a firefighter with the St. John’s Regional Fire Department.
Langdon says while the project is dubbed “Travel Buddies,” that doesn’t necessarily mean the bears have to go on an extended vacation, or even on a plane.
“We just want them to have an adventure and to make memories. It could be a social gathering. Our bear Madeline (named after a young woman who passed away from breast cancer in 2011) was out to a job celebration. … and everyone that was out at the dinner all donated,” Langdon said.
The important thing is the donation, she said, as Jorja and Kirkland are determined to raise $1,000 to donate to the Janeway during the Janeway Telethon in early June.
It’s important as well, Langdon said, for people to realize that the fundraiser targets people of all ages.
“Anybody who is willing to take a bear and help us in our journey to make money for the Janeway, that’s what it’s all about.”
Plans to expand
Langdon and Raymond, who live in the Goulds, are originally from Deer Lake. They are hoping to eventually set up a bear distribution centre on the West Coast.
“But, right now we’re willing to put a bear on the bus or in the mail, whatever we need to do,” Langdon said.
Although the focus is currently on raising money to donate during the telethon, Langdon said the project is just getting off the ground. The intention is to expand and grow the initiative,” she said.
“When Jorja first thought of Travel Buddies, I didn’t think it would go very far. But as soon as people started hearing about it, it just expanded,” Kirkland said.
“It’s just for fun. It’s about making kids happy. And you do that if you donate. You have to donate,” Jorja said.
Lynn Sparkes, executive director of the Janeway Foundation, says Travel Buddies is all about kids helping kids. It’s “truly amazing,” she said.
According to Sparkes, the number of children raising money for the Janeway continues to increase every year.
Their social conscious is to be admired, she said, and their fundraising creativity is absolutely terrific.
Children like Jorja and Kirkland and others who raise funds for worthy causes are a wonderful example, not only for other children but for everyone, Sparkes said.
To book a bear or to get more information on Travel Buddies, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Travel-buddies/228176833940231
Siblings Kirkland Legge, 13, and Jorja Hinks, 7, with some of the bears ready to go on an adventure in support of the Janeway Children’s Hospital. Jorja is holding Furey – a bear named after local cardiologist Dr. Michael Furey.