Martin Kruze was the first male survivor of the Maple Leaf Gardens‘ tragedy to step forward and acknowledge the need for awareness around the horrific issue of child abuse. After Martin’s death, in his memory, the CCAA and the Kruze family founded the Martin Kruze Memorial Fund, which continues to be in operation today through CCAA.
Martin Kruze’s mother nicknamed him “Huggy Bear” because he always gave such warm, wonderful hugs. After Martin’s tragic death, Teresa Kruze, Martin’s sister-in-law found a beautiful white bear that Martin had given his Mom. She designed a purple jacket and trim to symbolize the color of child abuse awareness, put a large butterfly on it as a symbol of hope and created a mascot for the CCAA. The name “Huggy Bear” already had a copyright on it and so he was given the name Huggum Bear¢ in the hope that children would be drawn to him and want to “hug-him” because Huggum always gives safe, healing hugs. This cute little bear is much more than just a mascot. Huggum Bear¢ is a symbol that represents safety for our children