Big Bear Cottage


On 2 April, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard pledged two million dollars of funding to establish Big Bear Cottage – a hospice for 18 to 30 year olds.

The Mito Foundation welcomes the announcement.

This new hospice, based off Bear Cottage, will provide care and support for young adults with life-limiting or terminal illnesses. Previously, there were no options for young adults outside of aged care. Big Bear Cottage will be Australia’s first young adult hospice, and will provide a much-needed service.

Click here for more information on the announcement.

Seanne Lavender, whose daughter Gabrielle has mito and has stayed at Bear Cottage is pleased by this news.

“Our 21 year old daughter Gabrielle has a rare degenerative mitochondrial disorder (PDH deficiency) and was given an extremely poor prognosis at birth. As a family of which Gaby is the youngest, we were lucky to have found the original Bear Cottage hospice in Manly and were able to access it as we needed. The overall atmosphere was comforting and it gave us a chance to give some respite time to our other children as well as knowing that Gaby was well looked after medically and emotionally.

“The recent announcement by the Premier of NSW outlining her Government’s financial commitment of $2 million per year towards operational funding of a young adult respite hospice was music to our ears. We have been advocating since Gaby left Bear Cottage in conjunction with Narelle Martin (Bear Cottage Nurse Manager) and many others for a facility that replicated all the attributes of the original Bear Cottage. It would allow young adults like Gaby and their families to continue to have access to world class medical and holistic care in a warm, caring and sociable atmosphere. We met many families throughout the years at Bear Cottage – many have lost loved ones during that time while other families like ours continue on day to day not knowing if our turn will come.

“Having a facility such as Big Bear Cottage would allow Gaby to have an alternative respite option similar to the wonderful experience she and our family had previously. We know that there will come a time where Gaby’s condition will deteriorate and having access to a young adult hospice would allow her to spend those last days in a wonderfully caring, peaceful and family-like environment which is our wish.”