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Algonquin College nursing students hosting teddy bear clinic fundraiser at the Pembroke Mall Saturay

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Algonquin College nursing students will be offering their services at the Pembroke Mall this Saturday to ensure area teddy bears and other stuffies, get the best possible care.

In exchange, those taking advantage of the clinic will be helping the third and fourth year students raise money for next month's humanitarian trip to Anitgua, Guatemala.

Melissa Jardine-Ridley, a third-year nursing student speaking on behalf of the dozen and a half nurses who are making the trip, said the teddy bear wellness clinic is a big fundraiser for the group, helping in its efforts to collect the $2,100 per person to finance the trip.

The event is free, but they will be collecting freewill donations. She said it will also be a lot of fun.

"From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., children can bring in their favourite fuzzy friend for a spring check-up, we will have all kinds of common medical equipment to check out their friend and even have a station for minor repairs," Jardine-Ridley said. "We will also have a bake sale with all kinds of kids favourites."

She said children will also learn the importance of hand hygiene, healthy nutrition, and familiarize themselves with clinic checkups and procedures.

The nurses and three of the faculty will be participating in a week-long humanitarian effort to help disadvantaged children and their families in Guatemala. The students are fundraising to help pay their travel expenses.

They will be in the impoverished Central American country from May 23 to May 30. The students will be working directly with doctors and nurses in small health-care clinics, providing checkups and basic medical care in poor communities and at orphanages.

Performing missionary work in an international setting will help the students to gain new insights into the nursing profession and its global impact.

The students have been holding a number of fundraising activities on campus and in the broader community and have also set up a website where the business community and individuals can make donations to help them cover their travel costs. The site can be found at:

Jardine-Ridley said the group has one more fundraiser coming up in May, a car wash at the Walmart parking lot, with the dates of the event to be determined soon.

"Walmart said they would match what we make on a car wash," she said.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

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