This year Gallagher Bassett is celebrating big as Gentle Bear turns 15!

Gentle Bear is GB’s symbol for caring, compassion and charity, and in 15 years, Gentle Bear has become a calming force around the world. Born through a collaboration between GB and the South Australia Police Department, Gentle Bear’s mission is to provide emotional support to a child in the immediate aftermath of a distressing situation, and as a source of comfort in the long term.  
 
As a recognisable, reassuring and safe object to hug tight, Gentle Bear has touched the hearts of thousands of tiny humans throughout his fifteen years of life. As Gentle Bear knows all too well, sometimes the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.  

Gentle Bear has travelled roads and flown through the skies to reach young children experiencing traumatic events. Now, Gentle Bear’s mission remains the same, but his ability to make an impact has expanded far and wide. 

To date, Gentle Bear has travelled oceans to touch the hearts of children all over the world, and even a few chimpanzee friends at the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Rehab Centre in South Africa, as he has participated in countless fundraising events, been on the scene as a key support tool with first responders and flown around the globe to meet new friends from Adelaide to Auckland, Guatemala, Fiji, Yorkshire, Chicago and more.  

In celebrating Gentle Bear’s 15th birthday, here are a few of our favourite Gentle Bear moments:  

1. Gentle Bear Goes Sky High 

Gentle Bear took to the sky in support of children who require the service of the Royal Flying Doctor Service – there is no limit to the height Gentle Bear is willing to travel to hug tight a child in need. The RFDS is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, ensuring Australia’s outback communities receive the medical attention they need.

2. Gentle Bear Wins Hearts in Fiji 

As part of an annual service trip, Gentle Bear travelled to Fiji to visit 30 children who had recently undergone paediatric heart surgery. Gentle Bear provided comfort to these children throughout their recovery and ongoing medical care.  

3. Gentle Bear’s Big Hibernation  

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic took a stroll on many, including children. In a time when it was not safe to touch, Gentle Bear adapted to instead touch the hearts and minds of young children through Gentle Bear’s Big Hibernation storybook – created to help children understand why it was important to stay at home.  

4. Gentle Bear Supports Backpacks 4 SA Kids 

Gentle Bear continued his mission to bring comfort to children experiencing traumatic circumstances, this time as a key inclusion in South Australia’s Backpacks 4 Kids – a key initiative that provides resources to children and young people during times of dislocation from home and routine care.  

5. Gentle Bear Expands to Western Australia 

In 2018, Gentle Bear touched down in WA to support Nulsen Disability Services. The organisation provides a range of support services for people living with complex disabilities and their families, with a contingent of Gentle Bears handed out to special young children.  

6. Gentle Bear Joins CEO Sleep Out 

Gentle Bear joined six GB executives participating in the CEO Sleepout in Brisbane and Canberra, helping to raise $23k donated to Vinnies to support disadvantaged Australians find a safe and secure place to call home.  

Read more about the lives Gentle Bear has touched here 

Following fifteen years of touching lives, Gentle Bear is nowhere near finished. Later this year, Gentle Bear is set to support Torch Run activities at the 2022 Special Olympics, promoting inclusion, equality, and acceptance.  

Gallagher Bassett is proud to have been acknowledged as one of The World’s Most Ethical Companies for the eleventh year in a row at the Ethisphere Institute Awards which is dedicated to recognising companies that “truly go beyond making statements about doing business ethically and translates those words into action”. Gentle Bear is one of GB’s most important corporate social responsibility initiatives – touching and shaping the lives of many young hearts in the communities Gallagher Bassett operates in.  

Cheers to 15 years of Gentle Bear and here is to the lives he has positively impacted and the lives he is yet to touch. 

Blog Author

Andrew Spilsbury

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