Wipe Away Those Tears
727. Gail O'Shea
728. Jason O'Shea
A couple from Essex have provided specialised equipment and gifts to over 1000 terminally and seriously ill children.
Gail and Jason O’Shea, from Brentwood, founded ‘Wipe Away Those Tears’ to transform the lives of ill children in their home county of Essex. They have raised over £1.5 million across 11 years to equip children with devices such as specialised wheelchairs, mobility trikes, and personalised car seats, and to bestow gifts such as iPads and trips to Disneyland Paris. The couple have held 10 fundraising balls for over 300 people annually. These balls include auctions, and Jason has twice helped two seriously ill children to walk for the first time by inspiring 40 of his guests to pledge £500 each to pay for the expensive surgeries.
In a personal letter to Gail and Jason, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Wipe Away Those Tears’, you are helping terminally and seriously ill children all around Essex, bringing moments of profound happiness into their lives. You have personally led an extraordinary amount of fundraising over the last decade.”
“We are delighted and honoured to receive this award and to have our work helping sick children in Essex recognised. My husband and I had no experience when setting up the charity, only a desire to help families less fortunate than ourselves. We are truly grateful to our supporters, without whom we could not have achieved what we have.”
“I believe that you should always help others, if you are in a position to do so. Giving something back is so important.”