Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BIG at Bear Cottage

I loved personally delivering magazines today as part of our One for One scheme to the beautiful mama's at Bear Cottage It was an overwhelming experience to stand outside the gate and imagine the lives and stories I would meet inside. Bear Cottage is a hospice that provides palliative end of life care to children with life limiting illness and I was privileged to be invited to a Mothers day art workshop to talk about BIG Kids Magazine. During my time there I found myself thinking about the published page in a different way. The disruption of hierarchy and the importance of visibility and the physicality of the printed page took on a weighty and significant new meaning. Art as legacy. Story as lifeline. Shared experience as celebration of life lived. I left Bear Cottage feeling moved, challenged and uplifted. I called Jo as soon as I walked out to share the experience and reflect on the significance of our BIG work in the real world. The places that generosity can take us. The courageous individuals that offer so much in their silence, and with their stories. Overwhelmingly I found the environment beautiful and joyous. The walls were covered in children's art work, there was a train track on the ceiling and a friendly labrador called Frankie lying in the sunshine. Bear Cottage was full of life. 
Precious, fragile and robust. 

We are grateful to be beginning a new relationship with the extraordinary staff and families at Bear Cottage. We very much look forward to sharing their stories and perspectives in the BIG pages and on our blog. Thank you so very much for having us. 

'We can't add years to their lives, but we can add life to their years' Bear Cottage

Wet felting workshop with the wonderful art therapist, Megan
Just a stone's throw from Manly, Bear Cottage is a children's hospice that was established in 2001. Bear Cottage helps families cope with the impossible - to care for a child who has a life-limiting illness. To care for a child who is unlikely to see their 18th birthday, or their ninth birthday, or sometimes even their first birthday.

For the special kids that stay with us, there is no happy ending, no miracle cure.
This is heartbreaking to think about. But that's only part of the story. Even though the outlook for these kids is a sad one, Bear Cottage is actually one of the most uplifting and inspiring places you could ever visit. Here, children laugh and play. Life is celebrated, lived to its fullest and also fondly remembered.

Sharing the BIG pages

1 comment:

  1. It's lovely and heart-warming to think of Bear Cottage families and BIG connecting


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