Home / Blog / Dad creates teddy bears with medical devices to help disabled children

Dad creates teddy bears with medical devices to help disabled children

Jun 25, 2023Jun 25, 2023

By Izzy Hawksworth via SWNS

A kindhearted dad creates imitation medical devices for teddy bears to give to disabled and ill children - so they can have a toy that looks just like them.

Nick Hardman, 40, uses a 3D printer to create tracheostomies, dialysis machines and hearing aids, which he then stitches to cuddly toys to give to poor youngsters.

He started making the teddies almost three years ago after being asked to make a toy shunt battle for a child who had a brain tumor.

Since then, he's made over 3,500 teddies and can make almost any medical device for them including ventilators, foot splints and a walker.

Nick and his dedicated team of eight volunteers have also added heart surgery scars onto teddies, dressed them in hospital gowns and each teddy even gets a trophy.

The single dad-of-two says youngsters with medical conditions feel more comfortable using their equipment when they see their teddy with the same thing.

Nick Hardman transformed his home into a unique Toy Shop. (Lee McLean via SWNS)

He said: “It literally changes their lives.

"I had one parent say that they’ve tried giving their little one a hearing aid but they kept taking them off. They got their teddy and they stopped removing it.

“Another child had club foot so they had to wear a boots and bar, which can hurt. If it’s hurting a child, then they aren’t going to want to wear one.

"The kid’s family messaged and said they were never able to put the boots and bar on the kid when they were awake.

“They had to wait until the kid was asleep before they could put it on.

“But when they got the teddy, the kid would allow them to put the device on while he was awake.

“Another mum got their daughter a heart surgery teddy and her little girl kept coming up to her, saying ‘mum when’s my heart surgery?’

“She was really excited because she wanted a scar like her teddy and she had been really afraid, anxious and worried about it before.

“The kids seem to get the teddy and never put it down - they sleep with it every night, carry it with them everywhere and show it to everybody."

Nick started making different children's toys using a 3D printer and was asked by a parent to make a shunt battle toy for her child who had a brain tumor.

Elroy with his teddy. (SWNS)

He uploaded a video about the toy to TikTok, which went viral.

Nick says he thinks the 'world had never seen one before' and he was sent hundreds of requests for him to make more shunt battle toys for other children.

He now he makes 200 bears every week featuring different medical attachments.

Nick, of Leeds, West Yorks, added: "I feel absolutely amazing - it's the best feeling in the world.

"It's worth more than money, it's worth more than anything.

"To make such a difference, it's just invaluable and it makes me happier than anything.

"It's magical and special - and I just want to help them all. It’s the best thing in the world and it makes me happy.

“When you’re doing it for poorly children, you just can’t put a price on that.”

The teddies cost £20 each but parents who struggle to afford one can apply to get one through Nick's 'sponsor a teddy scheme', paid for by public donations.

Nick and his volunteers then randomly select 40 bears a week to go to a child that has signed up to the scheme.

An assortment of teddies with medical devices. (Lee McLean via SWNS)

He believes parents like gifting their child a teddy because they are able to 'influence their child for the better with them.'

Nick, who works full-time as a machine programmer, said: "I sometimes don't think the parents get any control over their kid's treatment.

"But when they fill in the form, get the teddy that helps and see the difference it makes, then they know they have actually done this.

"They've had the positive outcome and know they can influence their child for the better.

"It's a little bit emotionally overwhelming for them.

"I see it time and time again it the comments, where someone has put 'you will never understand how much it means to the little one but to the family as well."

Janine Fletcher's daughter Ivy, two, was born without her left hand and after seeing Nick's work on social media, she decided to purchase a bear for her daughter.

She's said the teddy brought Ivy 'so much joy' and that she 'hasn't let go' of her teddy, which she's called Meno.

Janine, of Swinton, Greater Manchester, said: "I rushed the box upstairs to her in floods of tears and in pure excitement.

"As we unboxed her teddy she was over the moon.

"It has brought her so much joy. She literally hasn’t let it go."

Ivy Fletcher and her teddy. (Janine Fletcher via SWNS)

Nick also starred in Lewis Capaldi's music video for his song 'Haven’t You Ever Been in Love Before?' in May this year.

In the video, Nick and his two children Amelia, seven, and Archie, four, are filmed giving the teddies to children who are staying in a hospice.

Lewis announced that he was diagnosed Tourette Syndrome in September last year and Nick even made him a teddy bear that has a tick monitor and a guitar.

Nick, who has over 365,000 followers on his TikTok account @3Dtoyshop, added: "It was very special being in the video.

"The video didn't go viral straight away but now his fans come back periodically to check what I'm doing.

"It's just all going a little bit crazy."

You can donate to the 'sponsor a teddy' scheme here

Originally published on, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.

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