Children's book inspired by Tampa girl's stuffed bear

By Sara Belsole, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 1:40 PM EDT

Angel Barriera, 13, has spent a lot of time at Tampa General Hospital.

  • Children's book inspired by Tampa girl's stuffed bear
  • Angel Barriera was on dialysis for eight years
  • Barriera always had her stuffed bear by her side 

She was on dialysis for eight years, but was never alone—her stuffed bear she calls White Bear was always by her side.

"When I was younger I saw this thing in the doctor’s office,” Barriera said. “So somehow he ended up being mine and I just loved him my entire childhood."

White Bear was with Barriera as she was rolled into the operating room for a kidney transplant in 2015, but got tangled up in the bed sheets and ended up at a laundry facility in Orlando. Hospital staff worked tirelessly for three days to get White Bear back in Angel’s hands before she woke up.

White Bear is now the main character of the children’s book White Bear’s Big Adventure, written by Barriera’s aunt Marie Cheine.

"When I was doing my Master’s degree, I took a children’s literature course and I decided to kind of write out that story as part of the course and then it just took off from there,” Cheine said.

Saturday, Cheine, Barreira and her mom read the book to patients on Tampa General Hospital’s pediatric floor.

"To help them know they’re not alone and that they’re not the only one that is sick and going through surgeries and always feeling different from all the other kids,” Barriera said.

Some of the proceeds from the book go to the Tampa General Foundation.