ROCHESTER, Minn. - After his story went viral on social media, a 5-year-old boy battling cancer is reunited with his beloved teddy bear that he had lost at Mayo Clinic.
"Thank you for helping me find him," Aiden Remme said in a video message Wednesday afternoon.
Aiden, who just turned 5 years old on Tuesday, received his bear from his great-grandparents during his first Christmas.
But when Aiden was just 3, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Because the tumor is located on the thalamus, doctors said it was inoperable. But incredibly, they later removed a part of the tumor during surgery.
"He definitely has a little bit of a miracle story," said Aiden's mom, Tracy. "He doesn't have as much tumor, I guess, as he did before."
Aiden now gets regular treatments at Mayo Clinic. And during every scan , every chemotherapy session, and every major brain surgery -- his beloved bear, Tedz, is always by his side.
"Teddy's been in more places than I've been allowed to go with Aiden," Tracy said. "Mayo's always been very good about letting Tedz go with. They'll give him his own little personal badge that has Aiden's name on it and a hospital bracelet. So when Aiden's admitted, Teddy's been admitted."
But on Friday, March 17, Aiden lost his bear while getting his 60th chemotherapy treatment at Mayo. The family didn't realize the bear was missing until they returned home to Brewster, Minn.
Tracy said Aiden cried during the first night, but later came up with a reason on why his bear was gone.
"He told us that Teddy had to go back to Rochester to help some other sick kids," Tracy said.
Tracy called Mayo Clinic, local gas stations and fast-food places. But no one she talked with knew where the bear was. Tracy then turned to Facebook Tuesday night, urging Rochester residents to keep an eye out for the bear.
Tracy's post was shared more than a thousand times by the next morning. Then, she got the good news: a Mayo Clinic employee replied that he found the bear inside Saint Marys Chapel, where Aiden often goes to pray.
Ecstatic, Tracy shared the news with her son.
"We told [Aiden] what we were told, that [Teddy] was found at the church and that he was there. And [Aiden's] reaction was, 'Oh, Teddy was praying for me'," Tracy recalled. "I'm like, 'Yep, Teddy was praying for you to get better, buddy.' What he thinks is that the bear was just staying at the chapel a little bit longer to pray for him and pray for the other kids."
A law enforcement officer then strapped Teddy into the seat of a squad car and returned the bear to Aiden Wednesday afternoon.
Tracy said she never expected such overwhelming support from the online and Rochester community.
"I had no intent that anybody would even really see our post," Tracy said. "But for everybody to be reaching out to people that they know that live in Rochester, that work at Mayo, or they think that they might have an idea of at least where we could look for it at -- everybody has just been really awesome."
Tracy added that Aiden's current chemotherapy regimen appears to be working too.
Photos and video courtesy Tracy Remme