Jak Trueman support group to be open within weeks

Jak Trueman's mum Allison Bar with the keys for Geddes House. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Jak Trueman's mum Allison Bar with the keys for Geddes House. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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TRAGIC teenager Jak Trueman’s dreams of helping others affected by cancer have started to come true.

The doors to what’s been dubbed “Jak’s Den Mark One” will open within weeks, offering help and support to siblings of children battling illness.

Jak’s mum, Allison Barr, confirmed that premises have been found to provide a base for the sibling support group that the teenager had hoped for.

And with help from the local community to kit it out, she hopes it will be helping the first young people before Christmas.

The group, which will be run through the Team Jak Foundation set up in memory of the Mid Calder teen, will be based at Geddes House, Kirkton North, Livingston.

It’s intended to provide special counselling and guidance for young people dealing with the trauma and heartache of seeing a sibling go through difficult medical treatment.

The group is inspired by Jak’s own sister, Aimie, who bravely watched him battle illness.

Allison, a schoolteacher, said: “It’s amazing to get to this stage. The premises are perfect with an office and a large expanse of space that’s ideal for us. Now we’re looking forward to the architects creating extra office space and counselling rooms.

“Once we have the sibling support groups up and running, we’re going to provide a similar support group for parents to help them too.”

Talented footballer and musician Jak lost his battle against a rare form of blood cancer in February. He was just 15 years old.

Despite being told his cancer could not be treated, Jak rarely lost his dazzling smile. He announced he wanted to help others by setting up a “den” which would help give sick children and their families a place to go to relax and where they could find help and 
support.

Just days before he lost his fight, Jak fulfilled his dream of taking his girlfriend Hannah Boyd to a hastily arranged prom at Mid Calder High School.

The caring teenager even made careful plans for the future, sitting down to write birthday and Christmas cards to loved ones to be given to them on special days.

Last month his family marked his 16th birthday with a special weekend of fundraising and a party in his honour.

His mum said at the time she was determined to smile through her tears and party just as if Jak was still with them.

At the same time, the fund launched to raise money to help Jak’s dreams come true, smashed through the £100,000 barrier.

And, in a poignant treat for children currently fighting cancer, birthday “party bags” filled with goodies were delivered to hospital wards.

“We know that Jak’s Den is a long-term project and it’s going to take years to raise the money we need to make that happen,” said Allison, who is writing a book.

“But there’s lots of short-term things we can do.”

She has now appealed for help to make sure the Geddes House premises can be fitted out in time for the opening.

“We need a joiner and a glazier who can help us create separate spaces for the counselling room and office,” she said.

“And we are also looking for a lighting specialist. The room has tubular lights at the moment which aren’t very good. We need everyday lights in there so it feels more homely.

“Plus we need new furniture like desks and chairs and also comfortable seating.”

• Offers of help and donations can be made through www.teamjak.co.uk.