|Entrance to Bear Cottage, Sydney|
A wall of teddy bears aptly greets you at Sydney's Bear Cottage 1 of only 2 paediatric hospices in Australia. Being a total novice to the area of paediatric palliative care didn't detract from the incredible impact Bear Cottage has on you when you spend time there.
A purpose built 10 bed hospice with home like bedrooms for sick children & adjoining rooms for their families plus home-like lounge rooms, art rooms, media rooms, a spa, multi-sensory room, a quiet room & beautiful outdoor spaces set in bushland surroundings with Manly harbour views - it couldn't be a more beautiful setting to care for your dying child.
It is a week today since visiting Bear Cottage & am still processing the profound impact. Queensland needs a similar facility. My mind races with ideas, models & ways we can create something similar here in our own state of Queensland. Am so very grateful and commend organisations such as Queensland Kids who have devoted their entire existence advocating for Hummingbird House to be established here in Queensland similar to the model of Bear Cottage.
As a parent visiting Bear Cottage breaks and fills you all at once. Your heart breaks for the children and their families there with life limiting illnesses and for their daily struggles with health and quality of life challenges, of making the most of time they have. However an incredible sense of hope, happiness and life in the midst of dying that is so beautiful words can't describe.
I have always been grateful for the good health of each of my four, the visit to Bear Cottage magnified this a thousand fold.
As a professional and passionate advocate for equity of access to palliative services visiting Bear Cottage also magnified a thousand fold how much we need to see Hummingbird House established for families here in Queensland.
With Australia’s population of almost 23 million there are only 2 children’s hospices nationally and none of them are in Queensland. The UK’s population of almost 63 million boasts 44 children’s hospices.
As a lover of seeing dreams come true - reflect on the history of Bear Cottage and how it came to fruition only through tenacious commitment, sacrifice and phenomenal community support. Reflect on the conception of Hummingbird House and all that is ahead to see it become a reality so Queensland families don't have to travel interstate to access such excellent respite and end of life care.
To see dreams comes true sometimes is pure destiny, rarely per chance mostly only through vision, hard work, tenacity, perseverance, integrity, relationships, networking, partnerships and passionate people using their gifts, talents and positions to see a vision turn to plans turn to development turn to reality.
Can I encourage you to check out the websites of both Bear Cottage and Humming Bird House and join forces to see the dream become a reality. Helping kids and families who need hope.
Cherishing life impacting experiences
Cherishing the passion & drive of colleagues
Cherishing compassionate, professional care given at end of life