Globe trotting teddy bear makes its way to Jackson County


Teddy Neil may look like an ordinary teddy bear, but to many people, especially children, he means so much more.

The stuffed bear has traveled the world and had many adventures along the way. He has made countless friends and brought smiles to the faces of young and old alike.

But he does more than just make people happy. As a chemo bear, he helps raise money for charities that support children with cancer and their families.

Teddy Neil recently made his way to Jackson County to stay with Barb Wyatt of Seymour and Jess Moss, who just moved from Seymour to Bardstown, Kentucky.

While here, Teddy got to go on a ghost hunting adventure with Wyatt and the Southern Indiana Ghost Hunters and joined Moss and her young daughters, Lorelei, 5, and Olivia, 8, at the annual Grassy Fork Volunteer Fire Department Tractor and Truck Pull and Fish Fry at Tampico and for a concert at Harmony Park in Seymour. He also helped serve meals at The Alley ministry and went to Seymour High School’s graduation.

Wyatt and Gillis made sure to document Teddy’s journey by taking pictures of him at different locations and meeting new people.

They posted the photos to Teddy Neil’s Facebook page and for every photo a donation is made by a group of wealthy businessmen to support cancer research, Wyatt said. More than $12,000 has been raised, Wyatt added.

The pictures and stories also are seen by children with cancer who follow Teddy’s adventures online.

“If you’re like me, it tugs at your heart,” Wyatt said. “With cancer being so prevalent anymore, I don’t think there is anyone that isn’t touched by it, and when it comes to kids, I don’t care how hard your heart is, you want to do something.”

Teddy Neil’s story started back in 2010, when Diana Souliotis Newman of the United Kingdom and her daughter, Amy, were planning to go shopping with their friend, Neil Brooke, but he was unable to accompany them.

Newman jokingly purchased a teddy bear to carry around that day and named it Neil, so in a sense their friend would be with them.

When Newman originally found Teddy Neil, she really was looking for a smaller bear to be able to carry in a purse or backpack, but there was something about its red nose and the little red hearts on its feet that she couldn’t resist.

After finishing their shopping that day, Diana and Amy were sitting outside enjoying a drink when some other people noticed the bear. Diana had set their bag down and it looked like Teddy Neil was trying to escape.

A 12-year-old girl named Shannon and her mother, who were from the United States, saw the bear and thought it was adorable and funny. They asked if they could take their picture with Teddy Neil.

Diana and Amy came to find out that Shannon had cancer and her last wish was to see the country of Greece. Three weeks later Shannon died.

At first, Diana felt guilty for not giving Shannon the bear, but then realized Teddy’s purpose would be to help children with cancer. She decided Greece should be the beginning of Teddy Neil’s travels.

They created a Facebook page for Teddy Neil that July, and he has been traveling the world ever since, visiting Italy, Spain, Germany, sailing around the south coast of England, visiting Mickey Mouse at Disney World, making a visit in Alaska and Las Vegas, stopping by the famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, and many other places.

People are able to request a visit from Teddy through the Facebook page. He has more than 3,000 friends on the social media site.

Sometimes his travels don’t always go as planned though. He has been lost a few times, once in Canada, and even was “bearnapped” and ended up in police custody, Wyatt said.

And then there are people who keep Teddy Neil for a long period of time but don’t do anything with him, and that makes Wyatt sad, she said.

His most recent visit with Wyatt and Moss marked the third time since 2013 he’s come to Jackson County. He will be here through August.

Moss first learned about Teddy Neil when she was bar tending at Moose Lodge 418 in Seymour and Wyatt brought him into the club. He quickly became friends with lodge members and their mascot, Tommy.

Moss and her daughters were excited to get the bear again.

The great thing about Teddy is that he’s an easy way to give back and something fun she can do with her kids, she said.

“We’d been waiting for two years,” she said. “They love taking pictures of him.”

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To follow Teddy Neil’s adventures or to request to host him, visit


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