Loved ones donate bears to keep murdered man's legacy alive

NOW: Loved ones donate bears to keep murdered man’s legacy alive

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Theodore Braun's best friend asked friends and family to bring one teddy bear to his funeral Friday to donate.

Strangers even chipped in to the cause and 298 bears were collected then donated to children at Beacon Children’s Hospital—something friends believe Teddy would’ve loved.

“We all called Teddy, Teddy, obviously, so what better way to honor his memory than to bring a teddy bear to the funeral,” said Zachary Holden, Teddy's best friend.

Teddy is 25-year-old Theodore Braun who was shot and killed inside American Legion Post 284 on Grant Street in South Bend after friends tell ABC 57 he was trying to stop a man from drinking and driving.

Friends say he was an advocate for Toys-For-Tots, and now his family and friends are keeping his passion going for him.

“He’s actually a large advocate for Toys-For-Tots. This is something he would’ve been extremely passionate about. I don’t doubt he's looking down at us with a big smile on his face. Hopefully I continue to do that for him,” said Holden.

Staff at the hospital tell me they’re honored to help play in a part in Teddy’s legacy.

“Anytime I can show up to their doors with a stuffed bear, they’re going to be really happy about that.” said Child life Specialist at Beacon Children's Hospital, Tracy Byler. Through my role and others in the hospital here to get them into the hands of the children and kind of push that through and help that memory travel along.”

Helping that memory travel along is exactly what Holden aims to do.

Holden is now in the process of creating a non profit to make beacon children’s hospital the first of many to receive these #Teddys4TeddyB.

“The foundation that i'm trying to create is in honor of him. These are from him, they're not from me and the people standing next to me, they're from the people who hold Teddy in their hearts. You can see how well he was loved,” said Holden.

Hospital staff say kids of all ages will be receiving the teddy bears and they’ll continue to give them to incoming patients.

Holden says Beacon Children's Hospital is just the first stop of many. 

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