Sep 03, 2019 1:00 PM

Update April 2020: Suzanne passed away since the publication of this story. We honor her memory.

Not long before Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) patient Suzanne Crowther began her first round of chemotherapy for uterine cancer, family gathered to give her a stuffed teddy bear and a book. When she opened the book, Suzanne found photos showing the little bear had traveled around the country, posing for pictures with all 21 of her great-grandchildren. The kids, from just a few months old to 11 years old, had hugged and kissed the bear. “They were giving the bear hugs, so the bear could give me hugs,” she says.

The idea came from Suzanne’s great-grandson Porter, who wanted a special friend to be with his grandma through treatment since none of the great-grandchildren could be. Suzanne brings the bear to every single chemotherapy treatment and all her CT scans.

Recounting the day her family gave her the bear, Suzanne says, “I had tears in my eyes. It was very tender. They were all so thoughtful. All of my grandchildren participated with their children."

back of book

The bear is dubbed “Sticks” by Porter in honor of his great-grandma’s wooded backyard. “I’ve told Porter that Sticks is on a mission,” Suzanne says. “It’s family love and unity, teaching our little ones to have empathy, and the goodness that’s here in this world. That’s what I feel his mission is about.”

Sticks has a hospital band around each ankle, representing the two rounds of chemotherapy Suzanne has had.

“I don’t know how long I have left, but I plan to finish writing my history and build lots of memories with grandchildren,” Suzanne says. Sticks will be by her side through it all.

close up of teddy bear

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