Mara Soriano: Stolen teddy bear with dying mum’s message found
A teddy bear containing a voice message from a woman’s deceased mother has been found thanks to a celebrity appeal.
Mara Soriano’s bear was inside a backpack which was stolen while she was moving home in Vancouver, Canada.
The bear had a button which allowed Ms Soriano to hear the voice of her mother, who died of cancer last year.
Her Twitter appeal gained support from celebrities including actor Ryan Reynolds who offered a $5,000 (£3,881) reward for the bear’s return.
Canadian TV presenter George Stroumboulopoulos also said he would match Reynolds’s reward.
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Late on Tuesday night, Ms Soriano, 28, received a message from someone claiming to have found the bear.
She met with two men in a public place and one of them handed her the bear.
“I’m not gonna lie, I kind of buckled,” she told the Canadian Press. “As soon as I saw (him) pull her out of the bag my knees just buckled. I just started sobbing and I grabbed her out of his hands and I couldn’t let her go.”
She said the men told her that they saw the security footage of the theft, recognised the thief and retrieved it from him.
Ryan Reynolds shared the good news on Twitter. “In happier news… thank you everyone who searched high and low. To the person who took the bear, thanks for keeping it safe. Vancouver is awesome,” he said.
Ms Soriano told the BBC that the bear was stolen when she was unloading a van with her fiancee and received a phone call from a friend who had been in a biking accident.
Before rushing to help her friend, she put her backpack, which contained the bear, down next to the van but forgot to tell her fiancee where she had left it.
In the few minutes the bag was left unattended, it vanished. Security footage from the scene showed a man making off it.
Ms Soriano said her mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. For seven years, her condition appeared to be stable, but in 2018, “she just kept getting sicker and sicker”.
Ms Soriano’s mother gave her the bear as a gift in December 2017. She died last June aged 53.
For Ms Soriano, who came to Canada from the Philippines as a child, “the bear was the last reminder of the mum I grew up with, before she became my mum with cancer”.
She told the Canadian Press that she was going to carry the bear around for the next few days.