In December, Jack & Jill Liaison Nurse Eilín Ni Mhurchú was delighted to receive a cheque for almost €14,000 thanks to the hundreds of supporters who took to the streets of Clonakilty on Sunday, September 29 to raise funds for Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.
The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation aims to empower families of seriously ill children to care for their loved ones in their own home; while also giving parents and carers the gift of time, which is so precious when caring for a seriously ill child, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Currently the service helps 38 families throughout Cork and one such family is the Jennings family.
Anita Jennings Mum to Olivia, age four-and-a-half, (pictured) has been influential in the success of the #UpTheHill2019 event in Clonakilty. Her daughter Olivia has a rare condition called Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy-37.
Olivia is non-verbal, non-mobile, has epilepsy (seizures) and cannot sit on her own. She is fully dependent on others 24/7.
Talking about how Olivia’s condition impacts on the family, Anita said “We can still get up and go but it takes a lot more planning, it all depends on how Olivia is that day. There are no more spontaneous holidays, no more big trips away but we had a lot of them when we could. There was a time recently when Olivia was fed every four hours naso-gastrically, which meant no continuous sleep for David and myself, which was really really hard.”
Speaking about Jack & Jill’s services, “It isn’t everyone that can come in and support us when we need a bit of time out. There’s a lot of technical bits with gastric feeding which have to be adhered to. So that’s why it’s so important to have Jack & Jill hours to help us go to family occasions like weddings and funerals, the local nurses allow us to get a bit of headspace and spend time together as a couple knowing that she is safe and in the hands of a trained nurse who knows her just as well as we do.”
She continued. “I was so delighted to see so many neighbours, family and friends take part in the #UpTheHill2019 event in Clonakilty. Ray Kelleher of Trigon Hotels was a huge instigator in making this walk happen, so I would like to thank Ray and all the volunteers and participants for their support.”