Looking back, two-time Campbell University alumnus Phil Fusco (’82, ’85 Law) says Campbell will always be near and dear to his heart. Coming out of a rough neighborhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, that offered few alternative options, Fusco says God had a plan that included Campbell.
“Campbell reflected the love of Christ by having faith in me when I did not have faith in myself,” he says. “Campbell played such an intricate role in God’s plan for my life.”
Fusco excelled enough to be admitted to the Norman A. Wiggins School of Law and is now a practicing attorney specializing in death penalty cases. Only recently have Teddy bears played an important role in his life.
Fusco’s son, Phillip, was diagnosed soon after his birth with a rare genetic disorder known as Prader-Willi Syndrome, a partial deletion of the 15th chromosome. After several serious surgeries and a tremendous amount of time in hospitals over the years, Fusco says his son wanted to do something to “help other children who were hurting.” Out of this desire was born Phillip’s Love Bears.
In the last four years, this ministry has sent hand-stuffed bears to churches, missionaries, hospitals and orphanages at home and all over the world. In this time, approximately 5,000 of Phillip’s Love Bears have been sent throughout the U.S., South Korea, Israel, India, the Middle East, Belize, Kenya, Uganda, Costa Rica, Panama and many more places. Phillip assists in stuffing the bears and finishes each bear with a hug. As the ministry has grown, Phillip’s Love Bears has partnered with organizations such as Joni and Friends, the Tim Tebow Foundation, American Heritage Girls and Trail Life, One Fair Chance (India), Aikwangwon (South Korea) and other organizations.
“God used [my experiences at] Campbell and my son to allow me to make this little impact,” Fusco says. “Through Phillip and through this ministry, we are able to share the love of Christ with young children and disabled adults all over the world.”
The ministry hopes to begin a “Teddy Bear Squad” at Campbell University for students who would like to get involved with world missions and have fun hand-stuffing Teddy Bears at the same time. In the coming months, Phillip’s Love Bears will be adding an antimicrobial bear that can be sent to cancer patients, as well as therapy bears that can be sent to cancer patients. Other bears will be used in physical therapy to reduce atrophy, and weighted bears will be made for individuals who suffer with sensory issues.
To learn more about Phillip’s Love Bears, visit PhillipsLoveBears.com