Teen Sends Out Plea To Honor Deceased Friend, Is Overwhelmed When 10,000 Teddy Bears Are Donated.

14-year-old Aidan Jackson of Widnes, England, recently lost a dear young friend and decided to honor him in an unconventional way.  A way that has inspired his whole community.

Aidan, who has Asperger’s syndrome, suffered a deep loss at an early age when his friend Olivia Walker passed away at just 15 years old from complications related to multiple severe disabilities (epilepsy, scoliosis and global developmental delay) in February 2014.

Olivia’s family started a charity called the Olivia Alice Foundation after her death in order to raise money for medical equipment and family support in children’s hospitals.

Aidan wanted to contribute somehow and thought of creative ways he could help. Aidan remembered that Olivia loved stuffed animals, and he knew stuffed animals would need to be a part of his memorial to her.

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via [TODAY]

“Aidan wanted to attempt a Guinness world record for the longest line of teddy bears,” Caroline Jackson, Aidan’s mother, told TODAY.

But when he learned the current record is held by a young boy who passed away last year, Aidan decided not to attempt to beat the current record.  He wanted to honor the young boy.

“Aidan decided not to challenge the record, so together we came up with the idea of placing teddies on each seat of our local stadium,” said Jackson’s mother.  They chose Select Stadium, which seats more than 13,000 people, and is the home of the Widnes Vikings Rugby Club.

He began contacting local businesses for donations to his efforts.  “We asked people to donate a teddy and a pound,” Aidan said.

“We found that we received a lot more teddies than pounds, but I didn’t let this put me off, as I felt that raising awareness of the Olivia Alice Foundation was extremely important.”

teddybear6_1aa77d4057644ae70dc20e9f5502302c.today-inline-large2xvia [TODAY]

The Jacksons were overwhelmed when almost 2,000 teddy bears came roaring in immediately. When things slowed down, they pumped their social media game up to try to reach more people.

Aidan appreciated every teddy but said some were especially cherished. “We had a teddy bear donated by a lady called Allison,” Aidan said. “The teddy bear was called Barnaby, and Allison had owned him from a very young age … Barnaby was 38 years old.”

Aidan’s hard work brought in a total of 10,500 teddy bears!

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via [TODAY]

Aidan, his family, and a team of volunteers set them up in Select Stadium.  He said, “because I have problems with my legs, I couldn’t do as much as everyone else. I wanted to keep going, but I had to rest and then seat teddies on the lower levels of the stadium so I didn’t have to go up and down all the steps.”

Caroline, Aidan’s mother, said, “Watching Aidan as he was being interviewed by local press and being able to see how much confidence the Teddy Bear Challenge has given him made me so proud. We should all do something every day that makes us feel proud.”

Aidan added, “The best part was looking round the stadium to see all the colors brightening everywhere up.” The teen is hoping this story will inspire others through their difficult circumstances.

“No matter how hard things might be,” Aidan said, “you can take on a challenge and see it through if you put your mind to it and have support.

teddybear3_dfcde92c1769f15146873f3426c65037.today-inline-large2xvia [TODAY]

Share his courageous, loving act… and go do something special for a loved one soon!

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