A stuffed animal of priceless value has gone missing and a mother is “desperate” to locate it. The toy in question is a stuffed elephant named Bruce, which holds the ashes of Liz Atkinson’s son Gabryel, who passed away in April of 2022 at the age of eight. According to Atkinson, Bruce has been with Gabryel since he was in the NICU and was a constant companion throughout his numerous surgeries and hospitalizations. Since Gabryel’s passing, Bruce has remained a cherished item within the family.
During a recent trip to Walt Disney World in honor of Gabryel’s birthday, Bruce became separated from the family. Atkinson has taken to Facebook to plead with friends, family, and strangers alike to help find the lost elephant.
Although Atkinson admits the trip was “a bit hectic” due to traveling and the family’s ongoing grief, she remembers that her youngest son Sebastyan was holding Bruce while the family went parasailing in Cocoa Beach on April 24. However, Atkinson is unsure if Sebastyan returned the stuffed animal to the family’s vehicle after the excursion.
After driving to Walt Disney World from Cocoa Beach, the family stayed at Disney Springs, followed by a hotel in Kissimmee, before checking into Disney’s Art of Animation Resort on April 25. Although Bruce did not make another appearance during the trip, Atkinson initially assumed the toy was just misplaced within the family’s luggage or vehicle. However, upon returning home and thoroughly searching, she realized that Bruce was nowhere to be found.
Atkinson has contacted the hotels the family stayed at and filled out a lost and found form with Disney. However, she is now relying on the public to help locate the beloved stuffed animal.
“I feel sick, struggling to sleep. I’m desperate,” Atkinson said. The family believes that Bruce may have fallen out of the car at the Palazzo or the Orange parking ramp at Disney Springs. Atkinson has asked anyone with information to contact her on Facebook.