DANBURY, Conn. -- City kids taking a scary ambulance trip may take comfort from a teddy bear they will receive thanks to a donation recently given to the Danbury Fire Department by a local teen.
Vladimir Schwindeman-Romano of Redding donated 100 of the stuffed toys last week from money raised by his charity the Teddy Bear Fund.
The 13-year-old started the effort to pay back a kindness shown him when at three he was rushed in convulsions to the hospital.
"His fever was high, 105, and he had cerebral convulsions," his mother Marian recalled for Daily Voice.
"An assistant chief put a small white teddy bear on Vlad's chest. He opened his eyes for a second and had a little smile, then passed back out."
Two years later, Vladimir, then five, asked to have a lemonade stand." "I asked him what he was going to do with the money and he said he was going to buy teddy bears for ambulances with it," Marian said.
Vladimir's recent donation brings the grand total to 1,000 donated since he founded the charity.
All the funds are raised from lemonade stand sales, Marian said.
"We sell Newman's Own lemonade and cookies and in the fall, apples cider and donuts. We run one at a beach house we go to on the Cape and in Bethel in front of True Value Hardware," Marian said.
Volunteers include her family, other children, and their families.
He does it, says Vladimir "so kids will feel safe in the ambulance and I just love doing it."
He's been written up in local media lately, and recently won a "kindness award" from Kohl's, a $1,000 scholarship. Her son is also a runner-up for a peace prize in Boston, noted Marian.
She lauds local residents and businesses for helping the Teddy Bear Fund.
"We do really well. and get half the money from the Bethel stand in front of True Value. People come up to us and hand money, they say, 'Here you go' and give 20 dollars. We pay $5 for the teddy bears which cost $15. Melissa and Doug (toy company) in Wilton give them to us at cost."