Vancouver artist Mara Soriano has been reunited with a very special teddy bear after it was stolen from its location near a U-Haul van.
The Build-a-Bear played an audio message from Soriano’s dead mother, “I love you, I’m proud of you, I’ll always be with you,” the New York Daily News said.
Ryan Reynolds, Zach Braff and other celebrities are stepping up to help a bereaved Vancouver woman retrieve a stolen teddy bear.
The beloved Build-a-Bear features the woman’s late mother intoning, “I love you. I’m proud of you, I’ll always be with you.”https://t.co/gJ022p5LnO
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 27, 2020
Soriano confirmed the good news of the bear’s return on Twitter on July 29, writing BREAK OUT THE
@AviationGin, @VancityReynolds !!! MAMABEAR IS HOME!!! #FOUNDMARASBEAR.”
— mara soriano | MAMABEAR IS HOME! (@drawmaradraw) July 29, 2020
Here’s what you need to know:
The Bear Plays a Special Greeting in English & Talagog, A Language of the Philippines
A teddy bear carrying the audio of a dying mother's final message to her daughter has been safely reunited with its owner. Mara Soriano played the recording after getting the bear back on Tuesday. https://t.co/NKsxkjkfLR pic.twitter.com/DfyuzVbtUs
— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) July 29, 2020
Soriano shared a video after she was reunited with her bear, which she said was returned “without a scratch.”
“She’s in perfect condition … she doesn’t have her signature glasses, but I’m hoping that we’ll get another pair somehow,” Soriano says before pressing the bear’s paw to play the recording made by her mother before she died.
The voice of Soriano’s late mother says, “Hi, Ate Mara, I love you very much – always remember that. You make mommy so proud. No matter where you are, a part of me will always be with you forever. I love you to infinity and beyond,” as Soriano holds the bear close to her and begins to cry.
“We did it,” she says. “Mamabear’s home.”
Deadpool actor and fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds responded to the video with the message, “Well, I’m a complete mess now. Thank you for that.”
Well, I’m a complete mess now. Thank you for that.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 29, 2020
Ryan Reynolds, Also From Vancouver, Offered to Donate Funds for the Bear’s Safe Return
Vancouver: $5,000 to anyone who returns this bear to Mara. Zero questions asked. I think we all need this bear to come home. https://t.co/L4teoxoY50
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 25, 2020
Ryan Reynolds and Zach Braff were just two of the stars involved in raising awareness and funds around the bereaved woman’s plight.
Reynolds pledged $5,000 for the bear’s safe return, CNN reported, while “Canadian TV and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos and Kraft Peanut Butter each pitched in $5,000, making the total reward offer $15,000.”
Reynolds previously took to Twitter to plead for the bear’s return, writing “Vancouver: $5,000 to anyone who returns this bear to Mara. Zero questions asked. I think we all need this bear to come home.”
Soriano Lost Her 53-Year-Old Mother to Cancer in 2019
Mara Soriano is desperately seeking this teddy bear stolen in Vancouver's West End. It has a final message from her mother, Marilyn, who died of cancer in 2019. Mara shared this video with @cbcnewsbc pic.twitter.com/GJYLu7QjK1
— Liam Britten (@liam_britten) July 26, 2020
Soriano told CBC News her dying mother had recorded the message shortly before going into hospital – and the audio recording was the last time she sounded like her old self.
“At hospice her voice was different. Much softer. Not the mom I grew up with,” she said. “That bear is the last memory I have of her speaking in her normal voice.”
When she and her fiance were moving into a new apartment in Vancouver’s West End, Soriano got a phonecall from a friend who had been in an accident a short distance away. Soriano absent-mindedly walked off, leaving the bag she was carrying behind.
When she returned, the bag was gone.
As well as the bear, Soriano related that other items including passports, social insurance cards, an iPad and a Nintendo Switch were stolen from the same bag.
Security camera footage has emerged of the moment the bear was stolen.
The footage shows a man walking towards the backpack, looking around, picking up the bag and running.
READ NEXT: Dion Boyd: Chicago Cop Commits Suicide