Portadown mum Julie Flaherty, whose two-year-old son Jake passed away in 2013, was in Parliament Buildings to launch the first ever support packs for families travelling out of Northern Ireland for heart operations.
‘Jake’s Ladybird Bags’, named in honour of little Jake, contain a range of useful supplies including toothpaste, socks and toiletries.
Julie hopes that the child-friendly design, inspired by Jake and his favourite animal, will give comfort to many families in the years ahead.
She said, “Jake’s Ladybird Bags can provide comfort and support for parents and children as they go through difficult hospital visits away from home. Jake’s spirit was an inspiration to us all and I hope this will continue to let families going through what we went through know someone is thinking of them.”
Sarah Quinlan, chief executive of Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said, “These bags will provide practical support to families from Northern Ireland who have to travel to hospitals in Dublin and in England for treatment for their young children.
“Thanks to Julie’s generosity, Jake’s memory and inspiration will travel with families today and in future as they take these difficult journeys.”
Families wishing to receive a bag should contact the Children’s Heartbeat Trust on 028 9031 2228 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.