Second retreat will honour Jak’s memory

Team Jak launches its crowdfunding campaign on Jak's 18th birthday. Picture: contributed
Team Jak launches its crowdfunding campaign on Jak's 18th birthday. Picture: contributed
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A RETREAT for young cancer patients, established in memory of courageous teenager Jak Trueman, has proven so popular the charity is looking for a new venue.

The Team Jak Foundation has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £180,000 for a new Jak’s Den, which could open as early as Spring 2018 in Ochil House, Livingston.

Jak, the inspiration for the charity, 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 and their family and friends, where they can receive emotional support and therapy.

His mum, Allison Barr, 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.

Today, on what would have been his 18th birthday, the charity has revealed plans for the new retreat.

Allison said: “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 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, and it has been a privilege to support some of those children and families here in Scotland.

“We are now at the point where we need a ground floor, further disabled resources and a dedicated counselling space to meet this demand.

“At the moment we are working with approximately 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 we need to fund this ambitious project but need to ensure we have enough revenue to keep it running and also create a 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 to our Jak’s Den family very, very proud.”

As well as indoor spaces for music and play therapies, media zones and a soft play, the new Jak’s Den will offer an outdoor space with a spa therapy pod, a music pod and a counselling pod, a zen garden, and an angel garden where people who are bereaved can go to remember their loved ones. A special crowdfunding page has been launched today: http://mydonate.bt.com/events/jaksden180000.