THIS week we introduce JUMP as our charity of the month.
From its base in Great Sankey, JUMP helps families with sometimes terminally children to capture happy memories in photo albums.
Throughout July we will focus on different areas of the charity’s invaluable work.
LOSING your beloved three-year-old boy to a muscle-wasting disease is enough to break the heart of any family.
That such a devastating experience provided the inspiration for Jump, a charity that creates photo albums for families with severely ill children, is an inspiring twist.
In February 2004, Jacob Hawthorn, from Woolston, died after battling congenital muscular dystrophy since the age of one.
Two months earlier, Jacob had enjoyed a dream holiday in Euro Disney, fighting the disease that causes muscle weakness and joint deformities, to have the time of his life.
Treasured pictures from the trip inspired mum Christie Bower, and grandma Christine Bentham, to found Jump, or Jacob’s Unique Memory Pot.
Christine said: “We had got so many lovely photos and films of Jake, and the outcome was we have these wonderful memories of him.
“He’s smiling and involved in everything.
“We felt we wanted to create that again, for other families.
“The word Jump doesn’t reflect what we do, but there’s so much emotional connection because of Jacob, we didn’t want to change it.”
Since starting with a handful of volunteers 10 years ago, Jump now helps hundreds of families every year, across the north west and into Wales.
It offers a free service to create memory books for children with life-threatening illnesses to keep as a lasting tribute.
Jump volunteers spend time getting to know the family, with a photo shoot then carried out by a professional photographer to make a ‘memory book’.
Video and film on DVDs are also offered.
Users are referred by hospitals, hospices, and other charities.
Three trustees ensure the charity is run in an ethical way, while Jump also has various patrons with Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, the latest to sign up.
Christine is ‘very proud’ of how the charity has developed.
She added: “The quality of the product and service we offer now is fantastic.
“We have come a long way.
“The real challenge now is continuing to raise money and finding a way to keep moving forward.”
To find out more, go to jumpchildrenscharity.co.uk