Catherine Cares will deliver dozens of Heartbeat Bears to Mercy hospital. The bears, designed by Build-A-Bear Workshop and Catherine Cares, will be gifted to families of babies who receive a life threatening prenatal diagnosis. The bears allow the hospital staff to record the baby’s heartbeat, hopefully providing some comfort during a challenging time.


11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at Mercy Hospital


Mercy Hospital, 615 S New Ballas Rd, St Louis, MO 63141


The delivery will be made by Wayne and Lauren Turley, founders of Catherine Cares, along with representatives from Bristol Elementary School who won the Spring 2017 Bucks for Bears grant.

Bucks for Bears is an elementary and middle school philanthropic & leadership program designed by Catherine Cares. The students of Bristol Elementary School of Webster Groves, MO were the winners of the Spring 2017 Bucks for Bears grant. The school raised funds for Catherine Cares Heartbeat Bears. They also applied for the Bucks for Bears grant by submitting a video to show how their school shared their caring H.E.A.R.T.s (Healing, Empathy, Action, Raising Awareness, and Teamwork) with the families Catherine Cares serves. The winner of the grant received $250 for their student leadership team and the opportunity to deliver a round of Catherine Cares Heartbeat Bears.


Students making the deliveries to hospital staff.

Interview with Wayne and Lauren Turley, hospital representatives


Catherine Cares provides Heartbeat Bears as well as restaurant and fuel gift cards to families of babies facing a devastating diagnosis. They offer families hope and they want the families to know they are not alone during this challenging time. Regardless of the outcome of the diagnosis, they want to reassure families that they will come through on the other side. They may be forever changed, but they will be able to smile again.

Catherine Cares & Bucks for Bears are offering another grant opportunity during the 2017-18 school year. Any schools interested in participating, email Catherine Cares through the website, catherinecares.org

ST.LOUIS, MO – September 30 – Catherine Cares is thrilled to launch a new service that will provide a Build-A-Bear, containing the baby’s heartbeat, to families that receive a life-threatening prenatal diagnosis.

The baby’s heartbeat will be recorded at a prenatal appointment and placed into a bear, providing comfort to grieving families and an outlet to talk about their experience in a healthy, kid-friendly, manner.  To view more information on the Heartbeat Bears, please view this video. http://catherinecares.wpenginepowered.com/services/services-heartbeat-bears/

“For most families going through this journey there’s a lot of chaos, there’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of anxiety. A teddy bear is something that’s soft, warm and not threatening. They can link this to their child. Not only is it something tangible, but it’s something that helps preserve the other memories they have.  And I think that’s why (the bear) is so important.” Said Dr. Barbara Warner.

An important component of the Heartbeat Bears service is Bucks for Bears.  Bucks for Bears is a philanthropy and leadership program within middle and elementary schools.  To find out more or to join the Bucks for Bears program, contact Catherine Cares.

Heartbeat Bears will be provided by Catherine Cares to their hospital partners.  Catherine Cares also accepts online donations. If you would like to donate to future bears or gift cards to be given to families at local hospitals after a devastating diagnosis please visit our website.

Catherine Cares was founded in 2014 by Wayne and Lauren Turley after their unborn child had received a diagnosis of Trisomy 18, a cell division that causes severe birth defects, just four months until their due date. Their daughter, Catherine Marie, was born three months later and lived only an hour, but it was long enough to make a difference in Wayne and Lauren as they had launched Catherine Cares 10 days before Catherine was born.  Catherine Cares now provides food and fuel gift cards as well as Heartbeat Bears to families in similar situations. Being able to fill an immediate need for families and helping in the healing process is what it is all about for Wayne, Lauren and their three-year-old Madeline.

Together, we can make a difference for families embarking on what may be a difficult journey.

ST. LOUIS, MO – Wayne and Lauren Turley were already parents of two-year- old Madeline so, at the 20-week sonogram for their second child, they thought they knew what to expect. Nothing could have prepared them for the news that their baby, due in just four months, would not survive.

Two weeks later, physicians at Mercy Hospital confirmed the diagnosis of Trisomy 18, an error in cell division that causes an extra chromosome 18 and results in severe birth defects. Wayne remembers, “We were in shock and finding it hard to do even normal things like planning dinner.“ Lauren adds, “It’s like your life is on hold because even with the diagnosis, you are still hoping — you just don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

Wayne said, “Our friends and family delivered meals which gave us more time to bond and grieve over the baby we named, Catherine.” But, there were times when the family just had to get out of the house. “We went out to restaurants for a sense of normalcy and to be around people who didn’t know us and wouldn’t ask questions,” said Lauren.

That’s when the Turleys started laying groundwork for their non-profit organization that provides gift cards for restaurant meals and fuel to lift some of the burden for grieving families. “We created, Catherine Cares because we wanted our daughter to have a legacy. Of course, we would rather have Catherine here — now, we just want her short life to mean something,” said Wayne.

Lauren’s obstetrician, Dr. Laura Vricella, of Mercy Hospital St. Louis explained, “Learning that one’s unborn child has a difficult diagnosis such as Trisomy 18 is a life-altering event. The sense of loss can be all-consuming even before birth.” Dr. Vricella added, “I was impressed and inspired by Wayne and Lauren’s creativity and perseverance in founding this service for others at a time when they were still grappling with their own feelings.”

Nurse Karen Graham agreed, “I have seen, first-hand, how overwhelming and paralyzing this news can be. A gift from Catherine Cares fills an immediate need of providing several meals but it also helps the Mercy Hospital Fetal Care Team fill an even bigger need; providing our patients the knowledge they are not alone in their struggle.”

Catherine Marie Turley was born two months early on December 30. She lived only one hour but it was long enough to make a difference. Ten days prior to her arrival, the Turley’s launched Catherine Cares. The first gift cards were delivered to hospitals three months after Catherine’s birth. Each card is worth at least $75 but varies by family size. The family can choose breakfast, lunch, or dinner from a list of dine-in restaurants.

Wayne said knowing that they are bringing relief to other families helps their own healing process. “Now, every time we get a call from a hospital asking about the program or receive a note of thanks, it is bitter sweet,” he said. “It is a reminder that yet another family is going through the pain of a devastating diagnosis.”

“All the stories are different, “Lauren said, “But we all have that heartache in common. We want to help relieve that pain and provide a bit of normalcy. If that’s all we can do — that’s enough.”

Catherine Cares is a non-profit (501c3) organization founded by the Turley family in November 2014 to provide restaurant and fuel gift cards to families who receive devastating diagnoses. All contributions are tax deductible.   Support from Catherine Cares allows families to focus their attention on the people who truly matter. Partner with us to help spread Catherine’s love. Together we can make a difference for families embarking on a difficult journey. For more information about Catherine Cares and how you can help, visit www.catherinecares.org or email us at contactus@catherinecares.org.