The Secrets Of The "Teddy Bear Lady"
Most of the people at Chicago's Children's Hospital did not know her name. They just knew her as the sweet elderly lady who wanted to make sure that every sick child had a teddy bear to hug. She kept bringing the stuffed animals, purchased with her own money, to give to the ailing children. That is why she is simply called the "Teddy Bear Lady." Her name was Gladys Holm, a retired secretary for an insurance company who lived alone in a tiny apartment near Chicago. It wasn't that she couldn't afford better, although...no one except her attorney and stockbroker knew that she was quite wealthy.
When she died at the age of 86, she had a portfolio worth over $18 million. She had never married and had no heirs. Her will simply directed that the bulk of her estate be given to the Children's Memorial Hospital. Her gift was to go to medical research so that new methods of treating sick or disabled children might be developed. The hospital learned that the gift of teddy bears were really a ruse. She gave away teddy bears to learn more about the financial resources of the families of the children. When she learned that parents did not have hospitalization or enough to cover medical expenses, she very quietly took care of their bills.
One wonders if Gladys Holm was simply putting into practice what the One known as th Great Physician had recommended: "When you give... sound no trumpet before you...When you give...do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, so that your gift may be done in secret." (Matthew 6:24)
At the hospital's memorial service for Gladys, someone put a teddy bear on every chair.