Feature Stories

Building Bears to Brighten the Spirits of Seriously Ill Children

Aug 31, 2017

Thirty Astellas employees with the Astellas Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) spent an evening enjoying a fun team-building activity while helping to brighten the lives of seriously ill children at the University of Illinois Children’s Hospital.  The team worked together to make 40 teddy bears for the children at the University of Illinois Children’s Hospital.

“The goal of the ELP is to develop leadership skills for future people managers and team leaders,” said John Forton, associate director, Talent Development and organizer of the ELP and the volunteer activity. “This team building activity allowed us the opportunity to use our newly acquired skills in a fun and unique way to make teddy bears for seriously ill children.”

The ELP participants represented Astellas Americas home office and field employees from the United States, Canada, Brazil and Agensys. Each teddy bear was personally gift-wrapped and sent to the University of Illinois Children’s Hospital.

“We appreciate the time and efforts of the Astellas team to make the teddy bears and brighten the spirits of our patients,” said Lindsay Cousins, child life specialist, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.  “The kids loved the bears and can be seen cuddling them throughout the hospital.”

The University of Illinois Children’s Hospital was identified through the Starlight Children’s Foundation®, one of the partners of Astellas USA Foundation.  Since 2011, the Foundation has partnered with Starlight to help improve the comfort and care of patients through enhancements to the pediatric wings of local hospitals, thus improving quality of life for children and their families.  Additionally, Astellas also matches all employee donations to Starlight dollar-for-dollar through the Matching Gifts program.

Living SMART™ is the Astellas approach to preparing communities today for what can happen tomorrow. The Living SMART framework brings together the strength of the charitable Astellas USA Foundation and our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work to find the areas where we can make the most impact to improve lives. Astellas USA Foundation and Astellas CSR collaborate to create a positive impact on society through three overarching focus areas: health and well-being; Science WoRx (STEM education); and disaster response. To read more about Living SMART, see the Astellas Americas Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.

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