How the journey started…
Pamper the Parents was inspired by a family friend of ours from the country whose little boy, Logan, fell out of bed and hit his head. He suffered bleeding on the brain and was flown to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, spending many months there. Our friends were separated from their daughter who had to stay with grandparents whilst they were supporting their little boy in hospital.
I can’t imagine how painful this whole experience has been for them and other families just like them. I witnessed how parents had to sleep in a chair beside the bed across weeks, sometimes months, I witnessed how exhausted they were but how courageous they all were. I witnessed how Ronald McDonald House housed so many families but obviously couldn’t house everyone. I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it must be for families and wanted to help in some way. So I thought, how do we help the parents, how do we help the children?
This is what we’ve come up with. We could do this every year. Maybe every year we could make one day at every hospital ‘Pamper the Parents Day’ and hairdressers and beauticians could donate their time to this. This is my dream. We could make such a difference.
About Bear Cottage…
Bear Cottage is NSW’s only children’s hospice, located on the grounds of St Patrick’s Estate, Manly in Sydney. We offer both respite and palliative care to children and young people with life limiting illnesses and their families.
Bear Cottage was initiated by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in 1988 when Dr John Yu and Dr Michael Stevens heard of the developments in the UK and believed a similar facility would enhance the Hospital’s palliative care program.
The site within St Patrick’s Estate was found in 1995 and provided the opportunity to create a ‘beach house’ style facility. This is an ideal location for children with life limiting illnesses and their families to holiday and seek respite. The centre was built at a cost of $10 million, and was entirely funded by the community.
Bear Cottage was officially opened on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2001.
In addition to providing palliative care facilities for children, Bear Cottage contains the amenities of a comfortable home, with 10 children’s bedrooms, family accommodation and a quiet room. There are also areas for recreation including a spa room, multi-sensory room and teens’ room. Families do not pay to stay at Bear Cottage.
The location of Bear Cottage at Manly ensures children and families can rest in quiet surroundings or enjoy the attractions and amenities nearby of one of Sydney’s traditional beach holiday destinations.
Most families staying at Bear Cottage come here for respite with the length of stays up to two weeks. Families using Bear Cottage for end of life care may stay as long as necessary.
Bear Cottage was established entirely by the community and continues to rely on the community for funding.
Bear Cottage cares for children from all over NSW and Australia. The children who visit Bear Cottage range from newborn infants to 18 years of age. Accommodation is also available for parents and well siblings of children staying at Bear Cottage.