About the Bears


Carolyn with Bears of Hope

Like many grand ideas, Bears of Hope was born during a person’s personal struggle with a life threatening illness.

Carolyn Reiner started Bears of Hope after fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She's now healthy, in remission and has her life back.

She knows first hand how difficult life can be at times and how something soft to cuddle can help make you feel better. Carolyn had her bear to hold, cuddle, or look at whenever she felt sick, sad, or lonely.

While recovering from a stem cell transplant, Carolyn decided to do something to bring comfort to other children and adults also going through challenging times like she did. Carolyn thought: “wouldn’t a bear bring them comfort like my bear did for me?"

     Bears of Hope was born 

Carolyn made a prototype bear. She showed it to clergy, friends and business associates. They all gave her positive encouragement for her concept: one-of-a-kind handmade fabric bears to bring comfort and hope to sick children and adults.  

   Carolyn turned her idea into reality! 

In January, 2007, Carolyn started making bears. When her friend, Joanne Purvin, found out what she was doing, Joanne said, "Count me in!"  That first year, they made 60 bears.  Now over 30 volunteers help make bears.  Over 300 bears are made each year.

Local social service agencies are given bears for the sick children and adults under their care. Until these agencies began getting our bears, they rarely had, if any, niceties to give to those needing emotional support to feel better.

January 1, 2018 began Bears of Hope's  11th year. 

Over 2,300 bears are giving comfort and hope to sick children and adults needing 'extra hugs' to feel better. Carolyn replied, "None of this would be possible without our volunteers dedication to make the bears and caring individuals and businesses supporting us with their financial* gifts. I appreciate all they do for Bears of Hope."



For more information contact:  

Bears@bearsofhope.com or 847-673-4098 


To make a financial gift*, send your check to:

Bears of Hope, 8331 Kostner, Skokie,IL 60076 


*Donations to Bears of Hope are not deductible as charitable contributions for tax purposes; they support materials to make bears for sick children and adults.