December 31st, 2008

Every Great River Hospice patient will receive a special gift in 2009 thanks to a local family. Max and Nicole Kamrath, West Burlington, and their extended family have provided 400 teddy bears, which will help launch the Great River Hospice Comfort Bear project.

Comfort bears will greet patients in their rooms at Great River Hospice House, and hospice staff will take them to patients who are receiving care in their homes. Patients may use the bears to cuddle when they need extra comfort. Family members may find them a source of warmth and love following their loved ones’ passing.

The 2009 edition bears have been named “Paco Augie,” an affectionate term the Kamraths’ sons, Jacob and Logan, used for Nicole’s father, John A. Austin, M.D., a physician in Janesville, Wis., until his death in 2005. Dr. Austin helped establish hospice in the Janesville area.