Help from a furry friend

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We all have some type of scars. Some we can mask. Some are more visible.

"It goes to right here," says Anna Nichols.

"And then I have a big scar on my shoulder and then on my arms."

Thirteen years ago a freak accident left Anna Nichols with third degree burns on a large portion of her body.

"Anna was accidentally scalded at the age of two and a half at a day care, totally by accident," said Anna's mom Jennifer Nichols.

"She just grabbed a crock pot cord that spilled hot water on her."

Jennifer and her husband were out of town when Anna was rushed to the hospital.

Anna's road to recovery has been very difficult.

But her family and an unexpected friend was there to give her comfort along the way.

"One of the EMS workers that she was with gave her a little Scooby doo to hold on too," said Jennifer.

"I think that was just awesome because she didn't have mom or dad's hand to hold onto at the time."

"I can still picture being in the ambulance and the driver giving me it," recalls Anna.

Realizing how much comfort Anna got, just from a tiny stuffed animal, Jennifer started to help other children in similar situations.

For the past four years, the Nichols have collected thousands of stuffed animals, used or new.

Every single toy goes to children in severe burn units.

"Ana was able to hand a little girl the very first stuffed animal out of the bag," said Jennifer.

"It was a three year old girl that had been burned and the little girl was lit up, just absolutely lit up."

To Anna, that meant a lot. Although the stuffed animal can hide the pain of trauma it can definitely warm a heart when you need something to hold on to/

Anna has had probably 25 surgeries altogether since the age of two.

The surgeries are for the scars that don't stretch as she ages.

It's an ongoing process until she's done growing.

If you would like to donate stuffed animals for Anna's mission email

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