New Den plans would have de­lighted my Jak

Mum’s pride as project grows

West Lothian Courier - - News - Deb­bie Hall

The Te a m Jak Foun­da­tion, a char­ity who sup­port young peo­ple di­ag­nosed with can­cer, are launch­ing a new crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to help raise £180,000 to help even more youngsters.

To­day ( Thurs­day) marks what would have been Jak’s 18th birth­day and his mum Al­li­son Barr wants to make sure the in­spi­ra­tional teen’s legacy con­tin­ues.

Jak was di­ag­nosed with an ag­gres­sive form of blood can­cer in 2014, but be­fore he lost his fight with the dis­ease, he shared a vi­sion with his fam­ily – to open Jak’s Den – a safe haven for young can­cer pa­tients from around Scotland and their fam­i­lies and friends, where they can re­ceive emo­tional sup­port and ther­apy.

Al­li­son opened the first Jak’s Den in Liv­ingston in 2015 but with lim­ited fund­ing avail­able, it wasn’t able to meet all the nec­es­sary re­quire­ments.

But on the day he would have turned 18, the char­ity have re­vealed plans for a new Jak’s Den, which could open as early as spring 2018 in Ochil House in Liv­ingston.

Al­li­son ex­plained: “We are ab­so­lutely over the moon as a fam­ily and char­ity to be an­nounc­ing our ex­cit­ing next steps on what would’ve been Jak’s 18th birth­day.

“It has taken a huge amount of work to get to this point and the search has been on for big­ger premises since March this year when we started to out­grow our cur­rent den.

“When we opened Jak’s Den mark one we didn’t ex­pect it to take off so quickly. The sad fact is that 11 chil­dren in the UK are di­ag­nosed with can­cer each day. We are now at the point where we need a ground floor, fur­ther dis­abled re­sources and ded­i­cated coun­selling space to meet this de­mand.

“At the mo­ment we are work­ing with 64 fam­i­lies di­rectly through Jak’s Den and serv­ing many oth­ers through Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals by pro­vid­ing snacks, good­ies, di­ag­no­sis and sib­ling sacks, vouch­ers and mu­sic ther­apy.

“We have al­ready raised al­most half of the re­quired £ 300,000 of our am­bi­tious project but need to en­sure we have enough rev­enue to keep it run­ning and also cre­ate this beau­ti­ful gar­den space which will be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated by all.

“Our new Den will have al­most every sin­gle as­pect that Jak asked for in­clud­ing pro­vi­sion of a neu­tropenic café once a month, for fam­i­lies where the food will be cooked to strin­gent health and safety reg­u­la­tions by a lo­cal chef, which makes me as his mum and mum of all our Jak’s Den fam­ily very, very proud.”

As well as flex­i­ble in­door spa­ces for mu­sic and play ther­a­pies, me­dia zones and a soft play, the new Jak’s Den will of­fer an im­pres­sive out­door space.

This will fea­ture a spa ther­apy pod, a mu­sic pod and a coun­selling pod, zen gar­den and an­gel gar­den - a spe­cial place where peo­ple who are be­reaved can go to re­mem­ber loved ones.

To do­nate visit http://my­do­nate.bt.com/events/jaks­den180000.

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Spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tion Al­li­son wants to raise £180,000 to mark Jak’s 18th birth­day

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