Team Jak jumping for joy over Christmas mall cash

Team Jak's Sonya Muirhead and Christine Birrell meet Santa
Team Jak's Sonya Muirhead and Christine Birrell meet Santa
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A trip to see Santa Claus boosted the Christmas fundraising efforts of children’s cancer charity Team Jak, thanks to a record breaking collection at Cameron Toll shopping centre during December.

As well as donations from the public after a visit to the centre’s free Santa’s grotto, the charity raised £2,729.33 from fundraising activities including gift wrapping, sales of reindeer dust and Santa cocoa, and a Christmas raffle. The charity also hosted carol singing in the mall that featured local group Star Harmonies. The total raised was the highest ever Christmas charity collection at Cameron Toll.

The Livingston-based charity, which was inspired by schoolboy Jak Trueman, 15 – whose story and bravery touched the nation after his life was sadly cut short following a brief and aggressive battle with a rare form of blood cancer – provides practical, social and emotional support to children and young people with cancer and related illnesses, their family and friends, and those bereaved.

Allison Barr, CEO at Team Jak, said: “We are blown away by the support from all the shoppers at Cameron Toll. They really embraced our charity and we received a very warm welcome.

“We are looking forward to a fabulous year ahead with the opening of our new, bigger, more accessible den, scheduled to open in May.

“The monies raised at Cameron Toll will be going towards the cost of a beautiful bespoke memorial angel tree to remember Jak and all our angels and will have pride of place in our beautiful landscaped gardens.”

Hazel McLinden, fundraising and volunteer co-ordinator for Team Jak said: “We are delighted with the generosity shown by the customers at Cameron Toll but also with the interest shown in the charity and support offered in many other ways.

“Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who helped us achieve this, especially so close to Christmas when everyone is busy but a massive thanks to Santa, he really was superb and it was a delight to listen to his interactions with the children.”

Claire Jefcoate from Cameron Toll shopping centre said: “The generosity of the shoppers has led to the highest amount we have ever raised at Christmas.

“Team Jak’s volunteers made Christmas at Cameron Toll and we are delighted that so much was raised for a charity that does so much for children and families facing cancer and related illness.”

Jak’s Den helps hundreds of people and hosts drop-in sessions, music therapy, counselling, pamper days, alternative therapies, support groups, mindfulness and activity days.

It also provides snacks and goodie bags to Ward 2 at the Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital and sponsors the palliative and bereavement team’s Rainbow Cart, which provides items to make a room more homely when a child is sadly going to gain their wings in hospital.