Banner Ironwood Receives Teddy Bear Donation

November 23, 2015

Gifts provided annually for families who experienced stillbirth.

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. – Each year, Brandy and Terry McCullough mark a somber anniversary with a touching donation. Their daughter Avannah was stillborn at Banner Ironwood Medical Center on Nov. 23, 2010, at 34 weeks. She was the first stillbirth at the hospital, which had opened just weeks prior.

“The staff gave us boxes of mementos – a handprint, footprint, a lock of her hair,” McCullough said. “But for me personally, it was hard for me to leave without having something to hold.”

Each year, on the anniversary of Avannahs’ birth, McCullough and her husband, Terry, visit Banner Ironwood to donate 23 teddy bears in their daughter’s memory, so other families going through a similar situation will have something to hold.

“The families are really moved. It gives them something to cradle and hold,” said Amy Yates, RN, director of Women and Infants Services for Banner Ironwood.

She added that it’s also helpful to the staff.

“This gesture is really powerful. It gives us one more way to support families in their grief, healing and remembrance,” she said. “These babies will always be a part of their lives.”

Brandy McCullough said it makes her feel good to give back to the community and help others who have also experienced a loss.

McCullough had three children before Avannah – now ages 15, 12, and 7. Now, the McCulloughs have another milestone they share with the hospital: their youngest, now 4, became the hospital’s first baby delivered on Halloween in 2011.

Banner Ironwood Medical Center provides patient care to the San Tan Valley and Queen Creek communities, including emergency services, intensive care, surgery, obstetrics and medical imaging. Banner Ironwood is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 29 hospitals in seven states, and represents a significant long-term investment in medical excellence for the East Valley.