In 2011, rambunctious toddler Bennett Nester began falling down a lot and would hold his head. He was admitted to the Texas Children's Hospital the week before Christmas, and was diagnosed with a tumor pressing on his brain stem.
During his hospitalization, Bennett received a present from two sisters who had lost a sibling to cancer. They gave him a Build-A-Bear, and included the message, "These are for the kids who don't go home for Christmas."
"Right then, we said we are doing this next year," Bennett's father Randy Nester told KHOU 11 News. "We have to pay this forward."
The family launched Bennett's Bears, collecting as many of the stuffed toys as possible and delivering them to children in the hospital who need cheering up around the holidays.
The Nester family received around 250 bears last year. This year, they received twice as many.
"It is fantastic. We smiled for a very long time," Randy said. "You are able to put a smile on their face for a few minutes and make them feel like they are not in a hospital bed. Make them feel like they are at home again."
Bennett is still receiving chemotherapy, but he hasn't lost his joy for helping others.
If you'd like to donate either a Build-A-Bear toy or gift card to Bennett's Bears, head here.