Award for mum who cam­paigns in son’s mem­ory

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

AN IN­SPI­RA­TIONAL mum has been recog­nised for her tire­less fundrais­ing af­ter the death of her teenage son.

June Thomas was pre­sented with a Bri­tish Em­pire Medal (BEM) af­ter cop­ing with the sud­den death of son Jack at the age of 15.

Since then June, from Oak­dale, has gone on to raise nearly £70,000 for char­ity as well as in­tro­duc­ing an ini­tia­tive to have sec­ondary schools fit­ted with de­fib­ril­la­tors.

She was pre­sented with the award by the Queen’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Lord Lieu­tenant of Gwent Bri­gadier Robert Aitken CBE.

June’s son Jack was 15 when he died sud­denly.

Af­ter his death in 2012, June es­tab­lished a val­leys branch of the UK char­ity Car­diac Risk in the Young (Cry) as well as Jack’s Ap­peal, a cam­paign to get all sec­ondary schools in the Gwent area fit­ted with a de­fib­ril­la­tor.

The ap­peal, which was backed by the char­ity Welsh Hearts, achieved this in 2015 and has since ex­panded into the area’s pri­mary schools.

To date, June has raised more than £69,000 for Cry, which pays for a spe­cial­ist heart screen­ing team to at­tend schools to screen pupils for un­der­ly­ing and un­di­ag­nosed heart de­fects.

Added to this, June has also raised over £67,000 for Jack’s Ap­peal which sup­ports the pur­chase of de­fib­ril­la­tors for schools, which has so far de­liv­ered 49 ma­chines to schools.

June is also cur­rently sup­port­ing lead pe­ti­tioner Phil Hill in cam­paign­ing to the Welsh Govern­ment to in­tro­duce Jack’s Law.

This would make it a le­gal duty for all Welsh pub­lic build­ings to have a de­fib­ril­la­tor.

She has worked with med­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions and the me­dia to pro­mote and sup­port Jack’s Law and has the back­ing from med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers and the char­ity Welsh Hearts.

Bri­gadier Aitken said: “It is a great hon­our to present this award to June cel­e­brat­ing her out­stand­ing fundrais­ing ef­forts.

“What she has man­aged to achieve is com­mend­able and will po­ten­tially save lives in the fu­ture.”

June said: “What hap­pened to Jack was heart­break­ing, cre­at­ing a fund in his mem­ory has truly in­spired me to do all that I can to pro­vide life­sav­ing equip­ment to schools and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

“My aim is to pro­vide a de­fib­ril­la­tor to ev­ery sec­ondary school in Wales and with the help and sup­port of char­i­ties and the gen­er­ous pub­lic that tar­get seems within reach.”

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