THE heartbroken girlfriend of tragic teenager Jak Trueman has told how he recorded messages saying he loved her and a song before he died.
Jak, 15, of Mid Calder, lost his battle to a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer known as Gammadelta T-cell lymphoma last month, after being diagnosed in August.
His girlfriend, Hannah Boyd, said Jak had planned to take her to the Build-a-Bear shop to find her the perfect stuffed toy for her 15th birthday next month, but he was too ill to make the trip.
Instead he chose a cuddly rabbit from the website and recorded messages of himself singing his favourite song, Three Little Birds by Bob Marley, and telling Hannah he loved her.
Hannah, 14, said: “It is really lovely. Jak recorded the message for me and if I squeeze the bunny’s hands I hear his voice. It’s a comfort but it is hard too.”
The thoughtful teenager also arranged a Valentine’s Day card and sent flowers to Hannah, his mum Allison and sister Aimee, which arrived days after his death on February 2.
The young couple, who had been dating for two years, had been making plans for the future before Jak found out the disease had spread to his bones and organs.
Hannah, a pupil a West Calder High School where she met Jak, said: “We didn’t talk a lot about what was going to happen but before he was really ill, we planned what we wanted to do after his recovery. We wanted to go and see Ed Sheeran, go back to the Kelpies and go for walks with a puppy.
“He knew that when I leave school I want to work in medicine, maybe even in medical research hopefully finding a cure for illnesses like leukaemia, and he thought that was a good thing. I miss him, we all do.”
She added: “Before Jak died, he told me I was to be happy – he wouldn’t want me to cry.” One of the highlights of his last days was the gold-themed prom at West Calder High School, which staff and students hastily arranged in his honour.
His mum Allison Barr, 44, said: “Hannah was his princess and he wanted to take her to the prom. He was very ill but was determined to keep going.
“Jak couldn’t stay at the prom for long, just a few minutes, but it meant so much for him to be there.
“In the car on the way home, he told me, ‘mum, I think it is going to happen tonight’. He was sure he was going to pass away. But actually once he was home he rallied. A few of his friends came back from the prom afterwards and I know he had a great night.”
Donations to a fundraising page set up in Jak’s final days surged beyond £51,000 and his family have established the Team Jak charity in his name.
The charity is currently working hard to raise money to build a cancer centre in Jak’s name to help others, known as Jak’s Den.
Community hall’s name adds to legacy
A COMMUNITY building is set to be christened Jak’s Hall as part of the inspirational teenager’s growing legacy.
Plans to rename the newly refurbished hall at the Auld School, in Mid Calder, were unanimously backed by West Lothian Council in memory of Jak, who frequently used the hall as goalkeeper for the Mid Calder Colts football team.
The news came as his school announced plans to hold an annual football match in his honour, and to allow pupils to wear gold ties during a two-week build-up.
Jak’s mum Allison Barr said: “It is just so lovely what everybody is doing for Jak.
“We are really quite excited about all the plans being done in my darling boy’s name.”
West Calder High School classmates started a petition garnering more than 600 signatures to swap their school ties for gold ones in homage to the gold-themed prom, which was held two days before Jak died. S4 pupils will now be allowed to wear gold ties until the end of the school year and every year pupils will have the option to weat the ties before the match in return for a donation for Team Jak.
The star-studded Jak Trueman Challenge Cup, which raised more than £13,000 this year, will now be held annually between Mid Calder Colts and West Calder High staff as a tribute to the keen footballer.