The holiday season is supposed to be a time of magic, beauty and wonder, and Trinity University Volunteer Action Committee’s group, Can-Survive, is bringing that wonder to children battling cancer through the Chloe’s Wish project, which brings Build-A-Bears to these children.

Started by Chelsea Castillo “˜12, this project is carried on by Trinity students.

“The Build-A-Bear event was started by Chelsea and her sister in honor of their other sister who died of cancer when she was little,” said junior Rachel Barnes. “It was originally held only in Houston (where they’re from), but when they came to Trinity, they started it here.  The whole purpose is to try to brighten up the holiday season of those kids that have to battle cancer.”

After being diagnosed with cancer, Castillo’s little sister Chloe thought it would be a good idea to give Build-A-Bears, which were her favorite toys, to other patients in the hospital. Castillo decided to carry that legacy on, and now Trinity students bring bears and write letters to children in the hospital.

“Many bears are needed because Chelsea, her family and those who want to carry on Chloe’s legacy give the bears to children with cancer in a Houston Hospital and a San Antonio Hospital,” said junior Andrea Moniaci. “These bears mean a lot to the children. It brightens their day. It shows that someone cares. These children do not get much interaction with people beside their family and doctors. People who come in, such as Trinity students, make their day.”

Last year, Trinity students themselves brought bears to children, which had a positive impact on the students as well as the children.

“I had the privilege to deliver bears last year at the San Antonio hospital, and it changed my life,” Moniaci said. “I definitely got more out of it than the children receiving the bears did. It is really eye-opening, and it taught me to not take life for granted. These children are going through a really hard fight.”

There are multiple ways for other Trinity students to get involved. One can volunteer at the table, which is in the library from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, and Tuesday, Dec. 10, to get collections, donate to help pay for bears with Tigerbucks or cash and write a card at the table. Other volunteer options include purchasing a $10 e-gift card through the Build-A-Bear website ( and sending it to Castillo at or building your own Build-a-Bear and dropping it off at the table in the library.


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