The last memory Mara Soriano, of Vancouver, Canada has of her mom before cancer took her life is a custom teddy bear that contains an audio recording of her voice. Now, Soriano is pleading with whomever stole the bear to give it back, no questions asked.
"The bear is so important to me because it was the last thing I had of my mother before she got really sick and passed away from cancer," Soriano, 28, told Inside Edition Digital. "I hugged it and listened to it every time I missed her. She says that she loves me in our native language, that she's proud of me, and that no matter where I am, a part of her will always be with me."
Now, celebrities, including Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds, are calling for the bear’s return. He tweeted Saturday that he’s even offering $5,000 to whoever brings it back. “I think we all need this bear to come home,” he said on Twitter.
Soriano said her bear disappeared on Friday, as she and her fiancé were moving to a new apartment. They had been unloading their U-Haul truck when a friend who was biking nearby called her and said he was in an accident.
In a panic, she left the bag outside of the apartment and rushed to be with her friend. When she returned, the bag was gone.
Soriano said the security footage showed a man wearing a white cap with his head down take the bag and flee.
She said the bag contained important documents, including passports, social insurance cards, citizenship cards and a book of blank checks. It also included pricey electronics, including an iPad and a Nintendo Switch.
But the bear – and the audio message it contains – was by far the most important item in the bag. Soriano said her mom had recorded it before going into hospice care, where she ultimately passed away in June 2019. She was 53.
She recalled her mom's voice changing and growing softer in hospice care, and the bear has the only recording of her mom speaking in the tone she remembered growing up.
Soriano is an immigrant to Canada. She was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada when she was 9. "I'm the only member of my family in Vancouver and the bear was a reminder of home for me."
Soriano has since filed a police report, and is asking anyone who might see the bear it to bring it back.