Tiana’s Precious Cargo


Tiana’s bear was waiting for her on her hospital bed when she was first diagnosed at seven years of age. Olivia is now going to university. She is still by Tiana’s side over a decade later!

Many of us have possessions we know we’ll hang on to for life. For you maybe it’s some family photos, a piece of jewellery or perhaps even a hand-me-down from a parent. For Tiana, 18, it’s this bear, Olivia. 

“Yes, I know she’s seen better days, but I still love her!” explains Tiana of her treasured Kids’ Cancer Project Fairy Bear that she was given over 10 years ago. The bear’s fur may be worn and her face look a little weary, but it was her most precious cargo when she moved up to Queensland for university recently, sitting pride of place in the front passenger seat.

“Olivia didn’t get packed in my luggage; she was precious cargo and stayed right by my side. It’s been like that ever since I got her when I was seven – best buds, glued together!” she explains.

“I didn’t choose her from a shop or online, rather I like to think she found me at a time when I needed her most. She was waiting on my hospital bed for me, just after I’d been for a walk around the hospital with my mum.”

Tiana received Olivia at time when she had no energy and very little to smile about. She was about to undergo treatment for cancer at the age of seven, when she recalls leaping onto her hospital bed and tearing open the box all those years ago.

“When I tell you I leapt onto the bed and tore the box open, I’m not exaggerating. I mean, what more could a little girl want than a fairy bear?!”

Tiana is hyper aware that it was the generosity of a stranger that ensured Olivia made it to her hospital room all those years ago. And it is a memory that will stay with her for life.

“Such a seemingly small action had such a significant impact on my journey with cancer,” she explains. “I’m 18 now and have thankfully had the all-clear from neuroblastoma since 2022.”

Tiana has such fond memories of receiving her bear from a kind stranger, at a time she needed it most, that she has been making sure other children in the midst of what she went through, are able to get the same joy she did when she received Olivia.

“I know there are so many worthy causes out there, each asking for generous support, but back in 2018, my mum had an idea. On 21 November, the anniversary of my first surgery − of many – we bought a Kids’ Cancer Project bear and headed back to our local hospital to give that bear to another child fighting cancer. It’s something we’ve continued to do ever since.

“I’ll never forget how wonderful it was to receive Olivia, and as you know, she’s been with me ever since! It’s only right that I continue giving that to other kids who need that support and joy as much as I did.”

Tiana says last year when we went to the hospital to drop off the bear, the nurse at the front desk said a family whose three-year-old girl, Raya, was fighting cancer had invited her to meet them. 

“We then gave Raya her very own bear and her parents looked as if we’d just bought them a house! It must have been exactly how my own mum felt when I got Olivia.

“We left their hospital room and just hugged and burst into tears − it was such a moving experience which I’ll never forget.”

Tiana is philosophical about how her story has come full circle. 

“I feel such a deep connection with what those children are going through and I’m so proud to be giving support to even a few kids.

“I hope anyone who donates a bear can share in that pride too, knowing the difference they’re making when they donate a bear. The good news is that any bear donated before 30 June will be tax deductible – a nice little bonus! And don’t forget that the proceeds from every bear donated or purchases also helps to fund vital kids’ cancer research!”

You can donate a bear to comfort a child in hospital undergoing treatment, just like Tiana, by clicking the button below.

Donate a bear today