The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation is urging the people of Ireland to climb on the bandwagon and go “Up the Hill for Jack & Jill” in support of its vital home nursing and in-home respite services for seriously-ill children.
The fun fundraising challenge has its sights set on raising €75,000 through hill walks, of many varieties and degrees of difficulty, taking place across the country from Sunday 22nd September.
People interested in getting involved can register their support for just €16 at www.jackandjill.ie – equivalent to the cost of one hour of home nursing care. Once signed up, they will receive an “Up the Hill for Jack and Jill” fundraising pack full of goodies, including a menu of ideas, posters, balloons and stickers.
The “Up the Hill for Jack & Jill” challenge is open to all ages and fitness levels. Participants have the option of joining one of the organised events taking place in Dublin, Limerick and Westmeath or they can get creative and choose an endeavour of their own by organising a DIY challenge with friends or colleagues – this can be sauntering up a local hill, climbing the office steps, abseiling a local landmark, surfing the crest of a wave, etc. Whether it’s one person or 100 people signing up, it really is the taking part that counts.
No Care Like Home Care
Each day, Jack & Jill organises teams of nurses and carers to provide nursing and respite care to 350 families in their own homes across the country. Since 2015, a total of 792 families were supported by Jack & Jill right across the country. Last year, Jack and Jill funded 123,884 hours of home nursing care to the families under its wing and that included up to 80 hours per month for children at end-of-life stage. Jack and Jill nurses are there when they are needed most, day or night, including weekends, with no waiting list.
Jack and Jill supports children up to the age of five years with any one of more than 100 serious health conditions, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, retts syndrome and many more rare disorders. For these families, the home environment often becomes an intensive care environment. Thanks to an army of more than 700 community nurses and carers the length and breadth of the country, parents looking after their children around the clock are supported with a range of tasks including peg-feeding, suctioning, oxygen management, medication management, monitoring of vital signs, overseeing of an average of 22 pieces of medical equipment, and so on. It means that families can continue to support and care for their little ones in the place in which they most feel safe – their own homes.
Doing it for Jack & Jill… and Tom
Dublin GAA goal-keeping legend, and Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation board member, John O’Leary, knows only too well the value of the services provided:
“My son Tom was born with a heart condition and rare chromosome disorder which left him in need of constant care. He has had open heart surgery and 56 hospital admissions. There is no other child in the world like Tom as his condition is so rare. Jack & Jill helped us to get Tom off to the best possible start, giving us the confidence and coaching that we needed in the early days. Tom is now eight years old and a graduate of Jack & Jill and we are so proud as a family to get involved in the Up the Hill campaign this year where Tom will be walking with us along with his big brother Jack.
“On Sunday September 22, not only will we be going ‘Up the Hill for Jack and Jill’ in the Phoenix Park, but we will also be doing it for Tom and for all the children supported by Jack & Jill across the country, each with their own story. Jack & Jill is all about community. I call it the GAA of Irish charities with a big reach into local communities everywhere. Whether you can join us in the Phoenix Park, or on one of the other organised hill climbs, or do your own, or you’d rather just simply make a donation of €16, I’d really urge you to do what you can to lend your support.”
A Hill of Difference
For Carmel Doyle, CEO of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, each person’s contribution of €16 is a gift of time, in the form of one home nursing hour, making a big difference to the families under their care:
“With every person who does the ‘Up the Hill for Jack and Jill’ challenge, the return for the families that we support is a gift of time. The €16 pledged by each participant goes to fund one hour of home nursing, which makes a real difference for our families. Each day, our families have to climb their own formidable hill, and so we are asking others to show their solidarity by joining in one of our organised hill climbs or doing one of their own or simply registering their support by donating €16.
“We know that home is where the heart is, and so it’s understandable that every parent wants their child home from hospital for as long as possible, near brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, grannies and grandads, neighbours and friends. Jack & Jill couldn’t do what we do without the generosity of the public and we hope that people will come out in great numbers for the cause and show how much they care.”
People can organise their own DIY hill climbs or sign up for the organised “Up the Hill for Jack and Jill” events already planned:
- Dublin, Phoenix Park (Magazine Fort) – Sunday September 22, at 2.30pm
- Dublin, Citywest campus (Tara Pool, Lake Drive Citywest Campus) – Wednesday September 25, at 1pm
- Limerick city, University of Limerick (Boat Club) – Sunday October 6, at 11.30am (two routes available, 3K & 5K)
- Westmeath, Hill of Uisneach (main entrance) – Sunday October 6, at 11am (two routes available, 3K & 4.5K)
For more information on the work of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, visit www.jackandjill.ie
You can follow all the latest news on Instagram @jackandjillcf, on Twitter @jackandjillcf, and on Facebook @jackandjillfoundation. The campaign hashtag is #UpTheHill2019