Bringing back the sparkle
471. Jessica Taylor
A Rochester woman with severe M.E. has brought hope, support and comfort to over 500 young people.
Jessica Taylor, who is chronically ill with severe M.E., set up Share a Star in October 2010 to bring the sparkle back into the lives of severely unwell children and teenages. Since starting the charity, Jessica has helped over 200 ill youngsters and 300 of their siblings, by organising day trips, sending personalised gift packs with positive messages of hope and providing bereavement support.
Through Share a Star, Jessica aims to make each youngster feel special by sending them unique handmade stars, featuring their favourite things. Along with the stars, the young people receive personalised poems and special gifts to help bring a much needed smile to them and their families.
Share A Star’s new venture, Oakley’s Outings, also enables seriously ill youngsters with complex needs to go on a wish day with their family. Jessica spent four years in hospital and was completely bed bound with severe M.E, among other illnesses including epilepsy and osteoporosis. Her experience inspired her to want to lift the spirits of other children and teenagers who are fighting life threatening or chronic illnesses. Jessica’s charity focusses on creating unique stars for youngsters, as a symbol of light and hope.
Jessica is always available to be a listening ear for any of the young people the charity supports and has most recently started creating “Books of Love” which are personalised, handmade books containing all the reasons that the young star is loved.
Jessica works closely with a number of hospitals and local charities, including Great Ormond Street Hospital, King’s College Hospital and Demelza House hospice, to identify children who may benefit from Share a Star.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“With Share a Star, Jessica has shown a remarkable commitment to supporting other young people who face serious ill health, or have very ill siblings. The peer support and family trips she organises have brought much-needed joy to hundreds of severely unwell young people and their families, despite her own ill health. To those who have received her kindness and empathy she is a true point of light.”
“I am honoured to have been considered for this award, let alone to win! Thank you, we shall continue to make a difference to youngsters that need our help. Please continue to support Share a Star so we can keep doing this. I won’t give up!”
Local MP, Kelly Tolhurst said:
“I am delighted that Jessica’s inspiration and dedication has been recognised with a Point of Light Award. Jessica and Share a Star are a credit to our local area having genuinely made a difference to hundreds of severely unwell children and their families. I deeply admire their invaluable work and fighting spirit and I would like to wish continued achievement to Jessica and her team.”