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Making Jak’s Den a reality

423. Allison Barr

Mid Calder mum Allison Barr, who has raised over £154,000 to create a centre for young cancer patients in memory of her beloved son Jak.

Jak Trueman was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of blood cancer aged just 15. While Jak was ill, he threw himself into an ambitious fundraising drive which raised £60,000 for leukaemia and lymphoma charities in the space of only four weeks.

While he was in hospital, Jak began to plan an even more ambitious project, which would help others after he was gone. His idea was Jak’s Den – a purpose-built retreat for children affected by cancer and their families, which would provide a place for them to gather to listen to music, relax and chat. At its heart would be a sterile cafe providing food and drinks suitable for their special needs. Sadly Jak passed away on 2nd February 2015.

Allison set up Team Jak in his memory to see his vision through, and set about raising a target of £100,000 in time for his birthday in September, which they achieved. Allison and Team Jak’s supporters now have a new £3m target, and Allison, as the foundation’s Chief Executive, opened the first Jaks Den on 11 December. Alongside creating Jak’s Den, Allison is continuing to highlight the need for blood, platelet and bone marrow donors. She also continues to provide support for St John’s Hospital and RHSC Edinburgh, and raise awareness for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and Bloodwise Scotland.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Jak’s Den is a wonderful place for sick children and teenagers and their families to receive support and respite when they are seriously ill. Allison has shown incredible strength in taking on her son Jak’s dream to help other sick children. Jak and Allison both inspired so many people to support their work and have created a fantastic legacy. I am delighted to recognise Allison as the UK’s 423rd Point of Light.”  

Allison said:

“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award which recognises the amazing work my beautiful inspirational son Jak set out for us to realise. If we can make a difference to others going through what we did through Team Jak and Jak’s Den Mark 1 then Jak’s death will not have been in vain.”

Hannah Bardell MP, Member of Parliament for Livingston and Angel Constance MSP are delighted to see Alison receive this recognition for her work on Jak’s Den:

“Both Angela and myself have been so impressed with the determination and drive to make Jak’s Den a reality during a time of immense difficulty and sadness for the family. We were so inspired by Alisons strength of character that we chose to run the Loch Ness Marathon in Jak’s honour, which enabled us to make a small contribution to this worthwhile cause. I was honoured to officially open Jak’s Den which will become a hub for other youngsters and family members following a life changing diagnosis. Jak’s dream to bring the community together in such a positive way has shown what a remarkable young man he was and his legacy will touch so many lives, now and in the future, thanks to his remarkable vision for improving services for others.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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