Campbell Remess, 16, who makes teddy bears for sick children in hospitals visited Gympie this month. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Campbell Remess, 16, who makes teddy bears for sick children in hospitals visited Gympie this month. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Meet the teen changing the world one bear at a time

Tasmanian teen Campbell Remess first started making bears and sending them to hospital patients when he was just nine years old.

Now he’s 16 and has made it a global cause, shipping the fluffy bears all over the world and becoming heavily involved in tackling bullying.

Over the past few years Campbell has been recognised globally for his efforts, interviewed by Steve Harvey and making friends with Olivia Newton-John after sending her a rainbow bear.

Campbell said he has been staying in Gympie for the last week with his friends Bruce and Tracey Devereaux.

“When Tracey was really unwell I sent a bear up to Bruce and Bruce opened the box and thought it was a dead cat,” he said.

“We’ve stayed in touch ever since.”

During his stay, Campbell has been to Rainbow Beach, Noosa and even paid a visit to Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig.

Campbell Remess met Mayor Glen Hartwig (left) and is staying with Division 4 Councillor Bruce Devereaux (right). Picture: Tracey Devereaux
Campbell Remess met Mayor Glen Hartwig (left) and is staying with Division 4 Councillor Bruce Devereaux (right). Picture: Tracey Devereaux

“I talked to him all about my projects and what I do, I told him everything,” Campbell said.

With a target of a bear each day, Campbell estimated he had made about 3100 bears in the last few years.

“It takes about an hour to make one, when I first started it took about 5 hours and it's got a lot of steps in it,” Campbell said.

Campbell Remess busy making one of his colourful bears that bring smiles to the faces of sick people all over the world. Picture: Facebook
Campbell Remess busy making one of his colourful bears that bring smiles to the faces of sick people all over the world. Picture: Facebook

Transitioning into Grade 11 this year, Campbell said his productivity would slip due to study but he will still continue making them.

“I keep doing it because of the reaction I get back from people,” he said.

“I love seeing people happy and enjoying the bears that I give out.”

As for his work with bullying, Campbell has been around the world giving talks on kindness and sharing his slogan: “Being kind not mean will change the world”.

“I said that on a TV interview and I stuck with that and I’ve been going around schools and teaching kids how kindness can make a big difference,” he said.

Mr Remess also auctions the bears off to raise money and send cancer patients and their families on cruises. Picture: Facebook
Mr Remess also auctions the bears off to raise money and send cancer patients and their families on cruises. Picture: Facebook

And he knows what it feels like, having been bullied himself.

“I did not want other people going through it and I wanted to help other kids and show them how kindness is a lot better than being mean,” he said.

Campbell has won a range of local awards for his efforts, but said his highest achievement was accepting the CNN Young Heroes Award in New York.

In the year ahead, Campbell said he has “big plans” for his bears and bullying projects.

“I’ve got plans to do stuff in Hobart for COVID but they're not released yet so I’m still working on them and I’ve got meetings when I get home,” he revealed.

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