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Girl selling 'Cancer Bears' after mom fought breast cancer

Alivia Gustman, 8, created a non-profit organization called Cancer Bears.jpg
Posted at 2:50 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 21:41:33-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Tara Gustman remembers every stage of her breast cancer journey.

"I was diagnosed when I was 34 years old and I am coming on a three-year survivor," Gustman said. "The journey obviously was a swarm for our entire family."

Her young daughters watching their mother get treatments for breast cancer, at one point losing all of her hair.

Then 8-year-old Alivia had an idea about teddy bears.

"My teacher said that you can make a project that you can make. And if you like it you can make it real one day," Alivia said. "And I love teddy bears so I just chose cancer bears to be my option."

With help from her dad, she now has a non-profit called Cancer Bears. It's only been a few months, and she's already sold more than 200 teddy bears.

"From 24 states across the U.S. and even had a sale in Australia," Alivia said.

Her father, Michael Gustman, sees the impact first hand, which he said is endless.

"The notes that we receive from people that are going through the treatment for people that have purchased the bear for people going through treatment," Gustman said. "People who have purchased a bear for children of parents that are going through treatment."

We are going to donate money to Boca Regional Hospital where mommy was treated. And we will also be donating to Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital where my sister had surgery," Alivia said.

Her mother's doctor, Dr. Jane Skelton with the Lynn cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, said it's not unusual for kids to find creative ways to cope when parents are battling cancer.

"Embrace the fact that you know what my mom had something different than somebody else’s mom," Dr. Skelton said. "And obviously the message here is I’m going to do something to help my mom and to help other moms and other dads and other families. And it’s beautiful to see something like that.”

"Send a bear, show you care," Alivia said.

To learn more about Cancer Bears, click here.