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Collaborator Nick Hardman creates "Special" Toy Shop to bring comfort to ill and disabled children.

Shared by Joana Afonso PI on 2024-06-27 08:59

About the solution

Nick Hardman, a father from Yorkshire, was inspired to create a unique line of toys for disabled and ill children. The motivation came from his desire to provide comfort and companionship to youngsters facing medical challenges. His journey began nearly three years ago when a parent requested a custom toy shunt for a child undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. This heartfelt request illuminated a gap in the market for toys that resonate deeply with children experiencing similar medical conditions. Seeing the profound impact these toys had on children's emotional well-being, Nick decided to dedicate his skills and resources to making a difference in their lives.

Nick Hardman’s toy shop specializes in creating imitation medical devices for teddy bears, offering a sense of comfort and relatability to children with medical conditions. Using a 3D printer, Nick crafts various medical attachments, such as tracheostomies, dialysis machines, hearing aids, ventilators, foot splints, and walkers, which he then stitches onto cuddly toys. These unique teddies are designed to mirror the medical devices the children use, helping them feel less isolated and more accepting of their equipment.

The product line has expanded significantly since its inception, with Nick and his dedicated team of eight volunteers producing over 3,500 customized teddies. Each teddy bear can be further personalized with heart surgery scars, hospital gowns, and even trophies, making each one a special companion for its young owner. The teddies cost £20 each, but through Nick’s 'sponsor a teddy scheme', funded by public donations, families in financial need can receive these special toys at no cost.

Nick’s creations have made a tangible difference in the lives of many children. For instance, one child who was reluctant to wear a hearing aid started using it consistently after receiving a teddy with a similar device. Another child with club foot became more cooperative with wearing a boots and bar after seeing the same device on their teddy bear. These stories highlight the emotional and psychological benefits these customized toys provide.

Nick’s work has gained widespread attention, including a viral TikTok video and a feature in Lewis Capaldi’s music video, further raising awareness of his mission.

Nick Hardman’s initiative transcends the conventional toy market, offering not just toys but a source of emotional support and empowerment for children with medical conditions. His innovative and heartfelt approach demonstrates how personalized, relatable toys can significantly improve the lives of young patients and their families.

Source of information: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-66304130 | https://www.3dtoy.shop/ | nick@3dtoy.shop
Contact information: https://www.instagram.com/hydroteddy/?hl=en |

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

DISCLAIMER: This story was written by someone who is not the author of the solution, therefore please be advised that, although it was written with the utmost respect for the innovation and the innovator, there can be some incorrect statements. If you find any errors please contact the patient Innovation team via info@patient-innovation.com

About the author

Nick Hardman, a 40-year-old father from Leeds, Yorkshire, UK, creates medical device-equipped teddy bears for disabled and ill children. Balancing his job as a machine programmer, Nick uses 3D printing to craft attachments like tracheostomies and hearing aids for cuddly toys. Inspired by a request for a toy for a child with a brain tumor, his creations have brought comfort to thousands. Recognized through viral TikTok videos and a feature in a Lewis Capaldi music video, Nick's work combines technology and empathy to support families facing medical challenges.

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