There is hopeful news for a 4-year-old girl in Tennessee who is desperately searching for a teddy bear that contains a recording of her late mother's heartbeat.
Last week, the girl’s father accidentally donated the rainbow-coloredBuil-A-Bear to a Goodwill store in New Tazewell, according to Cindy Dodson, a spokesperson for Goodwill Industries Knoxville. It was only when his daughter asked to bring her bear to school that he realized what happened and returned to the store.
"It was a complete mistake," Dodson tells TODAY.com. "When the father came back and saw that it was sold, his heart sank."
Now, Build-A-Bear is replacing the toy, with a recording of the heartbeat, provided by the family.
“While we remain hopeful that the original bear is located, it is our sincere wish that this new teddy bear will provide a bit of comfort for the child and the family at this time,” a spokesperson from Build-A-Bear tells TODAY.com.
Dodson says the mom's heartbeat was recorded approximately one year ago, before her death.
Support for the bear's rescue grew online as people shared social media posts in the hopes of spreading awareness.
The non-profit organization Goodwill Industries-Knoxville posted an Instagram photo of what appears to be a similar bear sold by Build-A-Bear. "Please help our local donor," read the post. "They accidentally donated a bear that was very sentimental to them and it was sold in our store before they realized it ... we would love to see them reunited."
"It's been amazing to see customers, including regulars, ask staff about the teddy bear," says Dodson. She cannot confirm whether in-store cameras recorded the person who purchased the bear.
Family members of the girl did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TODAY.com. Dodson could not confirm the identity of the father.
Word traveled to the Build-A-Bear company.
"The staff at Build-A-Bear were heartbroken to hear the news about the missing Rainbow Sparkle Bear," a company representative tells TODAY.com. With the help of a local radio station, WRIL, that originally aired the story of the missing bear, they located the original heartbeat recording and put it in a new bear for the little girl.