BUENA VISTA, Va. (WFXR) – In 2019, Mick and Tabitha Martin lost their son Titan after a pregnancy complication, called a complete concealed abruption. Tabitha was 32 weeks pregnant when they learned the baby didn’t have a heartbeat, and she had to have a C-section.
“It’s really hard to go into the hospital with your baby and leave without him,” she said.
Tabitha says they wouldn’t have made it without the love and support from their extended family or a touching tribute from their community.
“The next day is when all the bears started showing up, and recovering from a C-section I’m sitting in a chair a lot and thinking a lot so it was nice to have that support to show up on social media,” she said.
The bears were inflatable Christmas decorations that began to pop up on lawns all over Buena Vista.
Tabitha’s brother and her sister-in-law came up with the hashtag #Titansteddybears, one that spread over Facebook and got around 30 families in the small city to place blowup teddy bears on their lawns every Christmas in memory of Titan.
“We just did the hashtag to get people to post their own pictures with their own bears and, of course, this town is so amazing about rallying around everyone,” said Lindsey Stinnett, Tabitha and Mick’s sister-in-law. She and Tabitha’s brother Zack promote the hashtag every December around Titan’s birthday.
Three years later, the teddy bear tradition continues, and now it helps even more families. The Martin and Stinnett families fundraised to buy 100 teddy bears and donated them to the local fire and rescue squad.
“If they come across a child who’s in distress, these would give them comfort and hopefully help them because we knew the community helped us with Titan when we lost him,” said Tabitha.
Titan, or as his little sister Macie knows him, “Bubba,” is still very much a part of the family.
“Bubba is always in her mind, traveling down the road and she sees a blowup, she knows that’s Bubba’s bear,” said Mick.
Through Titan’s Teddy Bears, he’s still a part of the Buena Vista community too.