Teddy bear drive keeps son’s legacy alive

A Luling mother is asking the community to help keep her son’s memory alive by purchasing teddy bears that will be delivered to children fighting cancer.

Vicki Bergeron lost her son Kyle, 18, to a rare form of leukemia in 2006. Kyle was diagnosed with the disease in 2005 and passed away in his sleep in a Gulf-front motel room overlooking the beach he loved.

Since Kyle’s death, his family has worked hard to make sure his name is never forgotten. In 2011, the family was honored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for their dedication in finding a cure for cancer.

Every year since Kyle’s death, the Bergeron family, along with their friends and community supporters, have come together as “Kyle’s Krew” to raise money and honor the memory of their son and friend.

The group was started before Kyle passed away, but his family and friends kept it going even after he lost his battle.

One of the ways the group helps support cancer-fighting efforts is by soliciting sponsors for teddy bears. The bears cost $10 and will be delivered to children in the oncology department of Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

Each bear, which will be named by the person who sponsors it, will have a poem attached.

“The teddy bears were inspired by Kyle, who spent many holidays in Children’s Hospital fighting leukemia,” Vicki Bergeron said. “One thing that Kyle asked me before he passed away was to please not forget about the children. So this will be our seventh Christmas taking teddy bears to Children’s Hospital and the children love them so much.”

After hearing about the teddy bear donations, two young Lakewood Elementary students were excited about the chance to brighten up a child’s day.

“When my mom first told me about the teddy bear campaign I thought, ‘this is serious and these kids need some cheering up,” Xander Savage, 10, said. “The really cool thing is you get to name your bear. If you want to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas you can help by sponsoring a teddy bear for just $10.”

Nicholas LaCaze, 10, agreed.

“I am hoping that it gives him or her great joy on Christmas day and helps him feel better,” he said.

As for the names the two have chosen, Savage plans to call his bear Xander Bear, because his name means defender of all mankind.

LaCaze has decided on Pa Joe Joe Boo Boo Bear.

Anyone interested in purchasing a bear can drop their money off to Audrey Raziano at First National Bank USA in Boutte. Checks can also be mailed to Bergeron at 115 Warren Drive, Luling, LA, 70070.

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