After TODAY.com spoke with the photographer behind the “Comfort Photos” series of children with their stuffed animals and beloved blankets, fans submitted their own adorable and moving photos of kids with objects that, in many cases, have helped them get through difficult circumstances.
Andrea Moore told TODAY.com that her 11-year-old son, Takoda, has found strength in his stuffed animal, Froggie, during frequent hospital visits to treat his unknown genetic condition — like this surgery for a badly deviated septum.
“My son has had Froggie since his first hospital stay at 1 year old,” Moore said. “My son is now 11. Froggie has supported Takoda through many hospital stays, surgeries, blood tests, doctors appointments, etc. Froggie is his best friend, and he won’t sleep without him.”
According to Moore, Takoda has endured additional surgeries to address protruding ears, facial anomalies and a cleft palate, and lives with multiple disabilities and deficits. While the family hopes for answers about his condition, Takoda finds a way to cope with Froggie by his side.
“Takoda takes all this like a champ, and Froggie is by his side through all of it, even in the [operating room],” Moore wrote. “[Froggie] been his best friend ever since. Takoda is a happy sweet little boy. ... He is a champ. He has been through a lot and always has a smile on his face. He is my hero.”
Takoda isn’t the only young trouper with a trusty sidekick. Betsy Daniels Smith of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, posted a photo of her daughter, Madison, grasping a stuffed monkey named Happy while staying at the hospital for a lung transplant on Nov. 16.
Thankfully, Madison’s surgery was successful, and Smith posted a follow-up photo to show her daughter, smiling on the beach. “This is her now,” Smith wrote. “We took a cruise two weeks ago to celebrate her.”
Lucy Sandeen of West Des Moines, Iowa, called her 5-year-old daughter Elayna her hero. “HoneyBear is her lovey bear, who she has had all her life,” Sandeen wrote. “When she was diagnosed with kidney cancer, HoneyBear went on a whole new adventure with Elayna. HB was in every surgery, chemotherapy and even went to radiation treatments. She loves that little guy and he has been with her through the biggest fight of her life. She is currently in remission and doing great!”
Leslie Davis of Tripoli, Iowa, took a photo of her daughter, Grace, who, like Grace’s baby doll Miss Bitty, is sporting an eye patch. “Miss Bitty has been with Grace for every doctor's appointment, surgery and in bed every night since Grace was 2,” Davis wrote.
Jennifer E Hatcher-Gist can relate, as she submitted photos of an unnamed stuffed animal that accompanied her daughter during hospital visits. “He has been there through surgeries and lonely nights,” Hatcher-Gist wrote. “When she had an emergency appendectomy, she woke up in recovery and Bear had a bandage, too!”
Carlie VanWillingen said her 19-year-old son, Murphy, finds comfort in a stuffed animal version of Tutter, a character from the “Bear in the Big Blue House” TV series. “Murphy is brain injured, and has had a Tutter since he was about 5,” VanWillingen wrote. “This is one of his senior pictures — he wouldn't let anyone take his photo without Tutter.”
Joi Stewart says her son, Sam, lives with autism and enjoys the company of a stuffed tortoise named Taco. “He has carried Taco everywhere since he got him 3 years ago and everyone who knows Sam knows Taco,” Stewart wrote. “Taco was lost for three days and I began to cry and panic. He was found watching TV on a pile of clothes at my mom's house. Taco is grounded, forever.”
Leanne Walters’ daughter’s Comfort Object is unlike anyone else’s. “My daughter sleeps with her daddy doll every night while he is serving in Afghanistan,” Walters said.
Comfort Objects also serve as a paternal reminder for Kelli Rickard, who told TODAY.com that her daughters’ father passed away last year, when they were 8 and 4. “The monkey and elephant were the last presents he gave them,” Rickard wrote. “They sleep with them, cry with them, cuddle with them, and have their pictures taken with them.”
Angelina Dominguez’s son doesn’t opt for a stuffed animal or blanket for his comfort object. “Nothing soft or fluffy… it’s my 2-year-old’s toy car,” she wrote.
Fluffy friends still got plenty of love, though. Nicki Hutter highlighted a “boy and his puppy.”
Then there’s the “girl and her her dogs,” captured by Tiffany Rosenberger Pendergrass, of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Melissa Harper’s son might be more of a cat person. “My son Zac (almost 3) and his Pete the cat are inseparable,” she wrote, snapping their day, lounging at the beach.
Nicole Crum shared a picture of a girl with her stuffed teddy, Bear Bear. “She’s been with her every day since she was 7 months old,” Crum wrote. “Now she’s my sweet 5-year-old!”
Has Bear Bear met BatBear, photographed by Helena Elizabeth? They might make a great team.
Newberg, Oregon’s Rebekah Osowick gave TODAY.com this heads-up: “There are very few pictures of my son WITHOUT Lammy. He's even made it into our professional portrait sittings. Part of the family.”
Lindsay Brydges Walsh posted a pic of a boy and what he calls his “baby jaguar, even though it’s a tiger.”
Stephanie Hemphill Wiegert of Prior Lake, Minnesota, shared a touching moment between a child and a stuffed penguin — or perhaps it’s a puffin. Either way, it’s adorable.
Summer Choquin said she bought Froggy for her son when she was 6 months pregnant with him. “He has been attached to him since birth,” she wrote. “He loves this frog and refused to give him up. Mommy has done ‘surgery’ several times and repaired many holes, and thankfully Froggy is still holding up.”
Melanie Webb of Brampton, Ontario, said her 18-month-old son owns four different comfort blankets, adding “he loves the softness against his skin and even tickles his nose with the tags!”
And who says everyone who likes a comfort object has to be human? Suzanne Wright of Lexington, Kentucky, posted a picture of her dog’s loyal companion. “Otis loves his little white pillow,” Wright wrote.
But not everyone was willing to share. Laurie Barnett told TODAY.com she couldn’t post her son’s photo, adding, “He is 27 and would be most unhappy with me.”
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