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Small World Story: Czech Teddy Bear Finds Its Owner in Michigan

Charity event designed to comfort sick children serves its purpose for Royal Oak family.

Royal Oak, MI, August 11, 2009 --( AuPairCare’s recent charity event proved a success with countless numbers of smiling faces in children’s hospitals throughout the country. AuPairCare teamed up with Build-a-Bear Workshop to create the Share-A-Bear™ campaign where au pairs nationwide got together to create personalized teddy bears. The bears were then donated to children’s hospitals all over the country. During this campaign, an area director for AuPairCare met one family in particular who embodied the essence of what this campaign was intended for.

While delivering the teddy bears to the pediatric wing at William Beaumont hospital, Jeannine Lambrecht crossed paths with an inspirational family in a seemingly destined set of circumstances. As Ms. Lambrecht carried the au pair-made teddy bears into William Beaumont, she was recognized by a mother passing by with her daughter. The woman, Lori Koran of Troy, MI and her daughter Ingrid saw the familiar AuPairCare logo on the boxes Lambrecht was using to transport the bears and the three engaged in conversation.

As it turned out, both of their families had hosted Czech au pairs in 2006 using AuPairCare’s live-in childcare services. Furthermore, Lambrecht’s son and Lori’s daughter were only a week apart in age. Lori and Ingrid were at William Beaumont for one of Ingrid’s routine treatments—the brave young girl had been diagnosed with a tissue cancer in 2007.

“This was one of those times when I just know things happen for a reason,” said Ms. Lambrecht. “For me to bump into this little girl fighting cancer with her Mom, who I knew from the au pair program a couple years ago and for her to now be one of the children my au pair group intended these bears for was just surreal.”

After learning of her condition, Ingrid appealed to the Make-a-Wish foundation with one of her biggest desires: to be reunited with her former au pair, Pavla. Fortunately her wish was granted and the whole family was sent to the Czech Republic to visit Pavla in 2008.

“It is events like this that remind us how significant a child’s relationship with an au pair is in their young development,” commented Emilie Colker of AuPairCare. “The bond created between this young girl and her au pair is something she will always carry with her, and that’s why we put so much emphasis on matching families with someone who will provide a truly exceptional experience for them.”

After talking with Lori and Ingrid, Ms. Lambrecht proceeded inside the hospital to drop off the teddy bears. She was so touched by the Koran’s story, and the sheer coincidence of their parallel situations that now differ markedly, that she asked the nurses to set aside one of the teddy bears made by a Czech au pair, and save it for Koran’s next visit.

“To find out that her "make a wish" was to go to Czech and visit their past au pair, Pavla made me realize what an impact loving an au pair can have on a child and their family,” marveled Ms. Lambrecht. “So it kind of came full circle--we made so many sick children happy with the bears and one of them had connections to the very program that made this all happen.”

The Koran family recently returned to the pediatric care for a routine visit and Ingrid was united with her Czech Share-a-Bear. The nurses at the hospital also saved a teddy bear for Ingrid’s sister who sits with her during her chemo sessions. Ms. Lambrecht has since kept in touch with the Korans through periodic phone calls. A charity walk for childhood cancer is set to take place in September, according to Lori Koran. Ms. Lambrecht plans on organizing an AuPairCare team to take part in the walk.

“All of our charity campaigns are all about connecting with the children, and ultimately that is AuPairCare’s purpose: to provide the highest quality of live-in childcare, as well as a fulfilling cultural experience,” said Colker.

AuPairCare services are nationwide and parents interested in learning more about choosing au pair childcare to fit their schedule should contact AuPairCare at 800.742.4274 or visit

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AuPairCare, member of Intrax Cultural Exchange
Dana Grove

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