The ad­ven­tures of Jane and Charles

‘Travel Bud­dies’ ini­tia­tive a unique fundraiser for Janeway

The Compass - - S22, - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY SPE­CIAL TO TC ME­DIA

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.

Foun­da­tion sup­port­ive

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.

Unique names

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

danette@nl.rogers.com

Pho­tos by Danette Doo­ley/spe­cial to TC Me­dia

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.

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