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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Emma Anderson of Kalispell

July 27, 2018
Press Release

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized 11-year-old Emma Anderson of Kalispell with his Spirit of Montana commendation for her compassion, generosity, and willingness to reach out to those in need.

Anderson is the creator of Emma’s Cuddle Bears. Launching the project with her allowance money and 20 teddy bears six years ago, she has sent over 3,000 Cuddle Bears to individuals suffering from cancer, debilitating diseases, and other difficult circumstances.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record about Anderson is available HERE and follows:


Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor an amazing young child whose compassion for others and giving nature touches the lives of thousands in need of comfort.

In 2012, Emma Anderson from Kalispell founded Emma's Cuddle Bears after seeing family friends undergo cancer treatment. An adult friend described the challenges she faced while battling cancer and said her heart went out to the young children fighting cancer in the treatment center.

Emma, only 5 years old at the time, asked if the children ever got scared, to which the friend replied that they probably did. Emma thought for a moment and said, “I have an idea.”

Emma used her own allowance money to purchase 20 teddy bears. She carefully examined each one to make sure it passed her cuddle test. She then gave each one a name and wrote a little note for the person receiving a bear. The bears arrived at the University of Washington Cancer Center, where the Andersons' friend was receiving treatment. The bears immediately warmed the hearts of children who needed the special comfort a cuddle bear can provide.

Since then, the young humanitarian has sent over 3,000 Cuddle Bears to those suffering from cancer, debilitating diseases, and other difficult circumstances. Emma has a special gift for picking just the right bear to encourage and comfort young and old alike. She still insists on naming all the cuddle bears.

Emma continues to answer her calling to help others. She joined Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child at her local church as an assistant project coordinator. Emma's bold and affectious personality inspires other to give.

There's a saying on display in the Anderson household: ``From small beginnings come great things.'' It was on the nursery wall when Emma's adoptive mother, Jeri Anderson, brought her home from China as an infant.

Starting from small beginnings, Emma and her cuddle bears continue to accomplish great things. All those who know her believe the best is yet to come.

Mr. Speaker, for her compassion, generosity, and willingness to reach out to those in need, I recognize Emma Anderson for her spirit of Montana.