Skip to main content
Find a DoctorGet Care Now
Skip to main content
Search icon magnifying glass







Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital receives teddy bear donation from appreciative former patient

Friday, November 16, 2018

teddy bear donation

Gathering at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital to receive the 36 teddy bears are, from left, Alan Friedman, MD, Jayden Cooper, Nancy Cross, RN, YNHCH, Bethany Seefeldt and Charlie Seefeldt. 

New Haven, CT — Nov. 16, 2018 — Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH) and pediatric heart patients are now 36 teddy bears richer, all because of the thoughtfulness and selfless generosity of 9-year old Jayden Cooper of Derby, CT. 

The proud New York Yankee fan and admirer of outfielder Aaron Judge had heart surgery at YNHCH in November of 2017 to repair what is commonly referred to as ASD- atrial septal defect, also sometimes called a hole in the heart. It is a type of congenital heart defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper filling chambers of the heart (the atria).  In most cases, ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications. In an atrial septal defect, some oxygenated blood from the left atrium flows through the hole in the septum into the right atrium, where it mixes with oxygen-poor blood and increases the total amount of blood that flows toward the lungs. This can lead to some change in the heart sounds and this was the reason Jayden was referred by his pediatrician to the Heart Center at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. 

Following his successful surgery under the watchful eye of YNHCH Heart Center team, Jayden received a special teddy bear from the YNHCH care team. This got Jayden thinking. For his 9th birthday, Jayden asked family and friends, in lieu of birthday gifts, would consider donating money so he could buy teddy bears for other kids who would be having heart surgery at YNHVCH. He collected nearly $700.00 at the outset and purchased 26 original bears. 

“Jayden has been an inspiration to us all, said Alan Friedman, MD, Jayden’s pediatric cardiologist at YNHCH. “It is not just for this generous and selfless gift however. This is a reflection on the terrific person he is each and every day. All of us at the YNHCH Heart Center get up each morning with the goal of helping kids live healthier and better lives. Jayden reminds us all how children can accomplish great things.”  

teddy bear donationWhile the gift of 36 teddy bears is certainly, well, heart-warming, it’s the message within the gift of each Teddy that bears mentioning. When the front of each bear in unzipped, a small, red embroidered heart is exposed, and with it, a personal note from Jayden. The note with each bear reads: “My name is Jayden and I am 9 years old. I had open heart surgery just like you! My motto is “If I can get through open heart surgery, I can get through anything! I love my Bummer Bear (I named him Zippy) and I wanted to do something special for other kids who were going through the same thing. I hope you like your bear! Get well soon! Jayden.

“Jayden asked if others would open their heart, if you will, and help make the lives of hospitalized children having heart surgery better,” said proud mom Bethany Seefeldt, who along with Jayden’s dad, Charlie, actually delivered 36 bears to YNHCH on Nov. 12. Jayden’s Mom and Dad said “Jayden is a special blessing and the light of our life.  He never ceases to amaze us with his kindness.”  

Jayden, currently in 4th grade at Derby’s Bradley School, is doing great according to both parents and is excited to get back to playing Little League Baseball in Derby this spring. 

“As a research coordinator for the Congenital Heart Disease Genes Study, I had the pleasure of meeting Jayden and his parents at the time of his surgery,” said Nancy Cross, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. “I had the honor of gifting Jayden a Mended Heart Bear, a bear effort originated by a generous family enrolled in the study six years ago, with the intent of acknowledging Congenital Heart Awareness Week. It was evident how truly special Jayden is as when I brought the bear to him while he was recovering from his surgery and he suggested I save the bear to give to another child. What a remarkable young man.”


Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH) offers Connecticut’s largest and most comprehensive array of pediatric services. With 208 licensed beds, YNHCH includes two neonatal intensive care units, a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, a pediatric psychiatry unit, an adolescent psychiatry unit, 24-hour Level 1 Pediatric Emergency Trauma Center and a pediatric surgery center. YNHCH, with campuses in New Haven and Bridgeport, is part of the nationally recognized Yale New Haven Hospital, a 1,541-bed not-for-profit teaching hospital affiliated with Yale School of Medicine. The Yale New Haven Hospital campuses and associated ambulatory sites are Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In addition to its inpatient units, YNHCH has three Pediatric Specialty Centers in New Haven and others in Greenwich, New London, Norwalk, Old Saybrook and Trumbull to provide specialty care to children closer to their communities.