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Kate's experience with Bear Cottage.

Kate Grover and Jess

This year Bear Cottage is one of our Good Cause Grant winners, nominated by nib Clinical Advisor, Kate Grover. Kate has a personal connection to Bear Cottage as they supported her goddaughter, Jessica, and her family, during an extremely difficult time.

Kate Grover and Jess

Every year, nib employees play an important role in nominating and voting for six charities to receive our $5,000 Good Cause Grants to support the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we live and work. This year we received over 1,800 votes from our Australian and international based employees.

This year Bear Cottage is one of our Good Cause Grant winners, nominated by nib Clinical Advisor, Kate Grover.

“My Goddaughter, Jessica was born on 21st August 2015 with an undiagnosed brain malformation. Jess, her parents John and Michelle, and the wider family were supported from Jess’s diagnosis until she passed away two months later.

While at Bear Cottage the family were accommodated in family rooms that looked like a hotel room so the family can stay together. Each room had all the extra comforts of home such as blankets, quilted colourful doonas, and verandas attached to the room to be able to sit and enjoy the sun. The family were able to come and go as they liked, and they especially enjoyed taking Jess for walks down to Manly Beach in her pram. The family were provided with tasty home cooked meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the option of sitting at one big dining table together with all the other patients and families, or just taking their meals back to their room.

All the doctors and staff at Bear Cottage wore casual clothes and all the medical devices were hidden behind walls, so it made it feel more homely and not like a hospital setting. Volunteers would come in to take big brother Jake, for a walk or just play with him to give the family their own time with Jess. Volunteers also came in to Bear Cottage to capture professional photographs, provide haircuts and massages to the parents and make keepsake memory hand and footprints.

The resident dog Frankie, who has now retired, was a big hit with Jake and always knew when the family were having a bad day and would just sit with them for a pat.

Jess and her family spent a lot of Jess’ life from August to October 2015 in Bear Cottage, and they have continued to support Jess' family since her passing by providing the family with:

  • Social Workers if they need a chat

  • Bereaved Mums weekends away

  • Bereaved Dads weekends away

  • Siblings’ weekends

  • Back to Bear Cottage BBQ

  • Remembering Day

  • Bereavement Morning Teas

  • Superhero Week

  • And the one Jess’s brothers enjoy the most is the Christmas Party

All the support is as much or little as each person may need”.

Jess with her parents, John and Michelle Cunningham
Jess with her parents, John and Michelle Cunningham.

Meet our five other amazing 2023 Good Cause Grant recipients here