Special ‘Heartbeat’ first aid kit created to remember brave Jake

Attending the Children's Heartbeat Trust coffee morning in the Portadown UUP advice centre.
Attending the Children's Heartbeat Trust coffee morning in the Portadown UUP advice centre.

A charity associated with the Children’s Heartbeat Trust (CHT) is being set up in memory of little Jake Flaherty who died in May 2013, just after his second birthday.

Called ‘Jake’s Ladybird Bags’, the group will provide ‘First Aid Kits’ for parents who are suddenly faced with the prospect of travelling to specialist centres in Birmingham, Dublin and London.

These journeys have become necessary since the specialist facility at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children lost its heart surgery services. These were finally closed in December last year. Until then, children like Jake received the full range of treatments in Belfast. Ironically he died in the hospital.

The driving force behind the association charity is Jake’s mother Julie Flaherty. She explained, “The idea is to provide what we feel are the essentials for parents whose children take suddenly ill and these items are required at short notice.

“Jake’s Ladybird Bags contain essential toiletries, provisions – like teabags, coffee and snacks – and an information pack is provided by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust. The ethos is to provide little things that are easy to forget, hard to get in hospital, or just come in really handy.

“I hope that, thanks to the CHT, some mum and dad, as we were often placed, will receive Jake’s Ladybird Bag, and realise that someone cares.”

The initial launch was on Friday morning when a coffee morning to raise funds for CHT was held in the Portadown UUP Advice Centre at Edenderry and a superb £500 was raised.

Julie said, “I was completely overwhelmed and delighted by the result. Upper Bann UUP and our friends came out in force for us and I’m totally delighted that we were able to give £500 to the charity this morning.

“This will go a very long way to helping parents and children at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives. I would like to thank everyone who came forward and helped us in any way-your contribution means so much.”

Jo-Anne Dobson MLA said: “I know just how much amazing work is done every day by this charity and that they can make even the smallest amount make such a difference.

“I am so proud of Julie and all that she has achieved and is achieving in memory of her beloved Jake. It’s amazing to see her new idea, Jake’s Ladybird Bags, taking shape and anyone who needs any information can follow it on Facebook or call into the office.”

For more information, go to ‘Jake’s Ladybird Bags’ on Facebook.