Real Life

Meet this 11-year-old hero using his pocket money to start a charity for sick kids

“I just want to help people,” Campbell says. “It makes me feel pleased and it makes me happy.”

The American writer Fred Rodgers once said: “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” In that respect 11-year-old Campbell Remess would be Superman, Batman and Spiderman combined.

Two years ago on Christmas Eve Campbell, of Acton in Tasmania, told his mother the he was going to start making presents for sick kids who had to spend the holidays in hospital. Since then the fifth grader has taken up the hobby of teddy making to make good on his promise.

“I started when I was nine,” Campbell tells The Weekly. “I taught myself. I basically just got a pattern for a bear and followed the instructions.”

Nowadays the precocious youngster spends most of his pocket money and spare time sewing together teddy bears – more than 150 bears to date – to bring smiles to faces who need it most in what he calls Project 365 by Campbell Facebook page.

Mum Sonja tells The Weekly while she and her husband Nathan encourage Campbell’s hobby he comes up with the toy ideas himself.

“Campbell can sometimes be inspired to make a special toy for someone if he sees or hears of their story – even on TV,” Sonja says.

“Just the other day we were watching 60 Minutes and they were doing a story on Fred Hollows and they showed these eye surgeries that cost $25 to do. Campbell turned to me and said, ‘Mum I’m going to make and auction a bear for Fred Hollows because one bear could look after four people.”

He has since made a teddy called Leo just for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

“It’s things like that that he sees and he tries to find a solution to. It might be from a child’s point of view but he just wants to help.”

And he doesn’t just look outside his home for reasons to inspire generosity.

Campbell’s dad was recently sick and to cheer him up his son made him what he calls a ‘Winner Bear’ – “a bear to help him win over his illness”, explains Campbell.

That bear now takes prime position in the home – sitting on the mantle and is first the thing people see when they come in the door.

“It did make dad feel better,” says Sonja.

Campbell has now made a series of ‘winner bears’ for specific people battling illnesses, like the little winner lamb he crafted and called Hope. She is destined go to someone who needs some hope in the oncology unit at the local hospital.

For his efforts Campbell has received numerous nominations for The Pride of Australia medal and on his Project 365 by Campbell Facebook page he has been inundated with well-wishers – some who have received bears from him – telling him he would be a very worthy winner. He will find out if he is in the running for the national award in July.

While Campbell says the prospect of winning is “exciting” he just thinks about how winning could help him “make more toys for the kids”.

And as the third eldest of nine children Campbell has plenty of little apprentices to help him in his toy making empire.

“They [his brothers and sisters] come in and help and Dylan [Campbell’s eight-year-old brother] really likes doing Project 365 with me.”

After appearing on Sunrise last year Campbell was the recipient of a gift himself – a brand new sewing machine from Spotlight and a $500 voucher. Many other generous people dug deep and sent the crafty youngster everything from teddy bear eyes and noses to scrap material and the stuff he says he needs most – wadding.

“It was totally overwhelming and that’s got him through the past year teddy making,” Sonja says.

And while Campbell says he will be a bear-maker for life he’s got his eye set on another selfless job to fund his hobby when he grows up.

“When I get older I want to be a fireman. I’ve already started training.”

Earlier this year the talented young man was one of just seven people accepted into the junior fire brigade in his local area. He can train with the fire unit there until he is 17 so he is officially on his way to achieving his dream.

So why is this kid with the most generous heart doing all of this?

“I just want to help people,” Campbell says. “It makes me feel pleased and it makes me happy.”

If you want to donate material or vouchers to help Campbell make his toys you can find out more information on the Project 365 by Campbell Facebook page.

Words: Jessica Leahy

Eleven year old Campbell Remess has set up Project 365 by Campbell where he makes toys for kids in hospital.

On his Facebook page the young man shows off his creations – all of which he gives away to people who need a little cheering up.

Talented Campbell is a self-taught teddy maker and at the tender age of 11 has made over 150 toys to donate.

Some of his toys are created with a special person in mind. This is Domino which he auctioned off for a little girl named Chantelle.

Another one of Campbell’s creations – a puppy named Jersey.

This is a little winner lamb called Hope. She will find a home with someone in the oncology unit at the local hospital.

Leo is the bear Campbell intends on auctioning off to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Project 365 is also branching out to making booties for the kids.

And they are coming out in Minion form too. Clever, right?

This is Puppa, a teddy dog.

Campbell’s older brother Jack also showed him how to make these bracelets which naturally the generous 11-year-old wants to make to gift to people.

A cute picture Campbell shared on his Facebook: “This is when I tried to teach dad to see but he couldn’t do it it was funny.”

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