Jack's Fund tops £100,000
Published on: 02 Jan 2015
A family from Downend have today resolved to take on a new fundraising challenge after successfully raising £100,000 for Bristol Children's Hospital.
Paula and Rob Banks started supporting the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal after losing their nine-year-old son Jack to leukaemia in 2008, following more than four years of treatment at the hospital.
They set up Jack’s Star Tribute Fund to fund a playroom and conservatory on the seventh floor of the city centre hospital.
On Christmas Eve, Paula told Downend Voice that their fundraising target had been reached.
“We have reached £100,686,” she said. “We are so grateful for the continued support we have received. It's been tough going at times but it is a wonderful lasting legacy to our Jack, having the new playroom dedicated to his memory.”
The family's next challenge is to raise £10,000 towards a £26,000 upgrade for the kitchen at the hospital's children's cancer unit.
Paula said: “The children will be able to have much better menu choices and not be restricted to just mealtimes when the catering trolley is brought round as any form of food normality goes out of the window when your child is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.”
The family also want to continue funding Jack's 'treasure chests'; pirate-themed toy boxes from which children can choose a gift when they face frightening medical procedures.
Paula and Rob, their son Joe and many family and friends have raised money through sponsored runs, skydives, and events. Downend Voice reported in May 2013 that they had raised £55,000. Now they have almost doubled that total, partly thanks to the efforts of Paula's work colleagues at Osborne Clarke, who made Jack's fund their charity of the year and collected about £12,000 since May 2014.
The family, who live in Chesterfield Road, had great backing from people in their home area
Downend WI supported the fund throughout 2014, with events including a swishing night, ladies night, craft nights and a quiz night, as well as helping to support the sparkler area at The Downend Round Table Fireworks event. Members handed over £600 to Paula, along with a box of toys for children undergoing treatment for cancer.
Paula said: "I am so grateful to the Downend WI for this amazing donation and I look forward to becoming a member of their group in 2015."
Jack's fund is also a chosen charity for the Frenchay 10K in April.
Paula said that the run-up to Christmas was a tough time for the family so the fundraising push had been a welcome distraction.
“I really cannot put into words how much I have appreciated all the continued support throughout 2014. I thought 2013 had been a busy year but 2014 has topped it and with our target being so close now, it really is overwhelming to think how many people have got behind Jack’s Fund over the past 6+ years,” she said.