A TEENAGER who was just six years old when his baby cousin died on Christmas Eve, aged 26 days old, has launched a county-wide fundraising campaign for the Yorkshire hospice which cared for her.
For William Jarvis, 17, Christmas each year is full of poignant memories of baby Emma and the loving care she and her family received as they visited her in Martin House children’s hospice,
Now, in her memory, William is determined to do his bit to ensure other children and families in similar circumstances receive the help they need.
He has written to hundreds of schools and businesses throughout North Yorkshire, urging them to join in a Christmas Jumper Day fundraiser to raise money for Martin House, which he describes as a truly inspirational place.
“The charity is particularly close to the heart of my family due to the devastating loss of my baby cousin Emma on Christmas Eve 2012.
“The support, kindness and dedication of the team at Martin House was immense. My auntie and uncle were able to stay with Emma and spend precious time caring for her while the hospice provided a comfortable, caring, peaceful environment for us all - and continued to provide support after Emma died.”
Speaking on what would have been Emma’s 11th birthday (Nov 29), he added: “Martin House is an extremely special place, one we never thought we would need. We will always be grateful for what they did for our family - and I want to fundraise to ensure other families in our situation are able to access this too.”
The Ripon Grammar School student, from Roecliffe outside Harrogate, persuaded pupils at his own school to fundraise for the hospice after he spoke in assembly about its vital work.
He added: “The hospice is run entirely from charitable funding, and every penny we can raise will help families going through the most unimaginable suffering to be cared for when they need it most, so I hope you will join me in raising money, awareness and remembering Emma this Christmas.”
William decided to launch his county-wide campaign when he heard Martin House were holding their own Christmas Jumper Day on December 8 this year.
“Martin House went above and beyond to support us, despite never expecting to need their help. Given that they are holding a Christmas Jumper Day this year, it seems incredibly fitting for me to raise awareness of their work at this special time.”
“My own school will be supporting Martin House on this Christmas Jumper day, but I am urging everyone from schools and local businesses to self-employed people and the general public to dust off their Christmas jumper and raise awareness for this incredible cause.
“Every year the hospice cares for and supports 425 children and 118 bereaved families within Yorkshire. It costs around £9 million a year to run, and donations would not only help support families experiencing devastating circumstances, but will also be put towards providing opportunities, happiness and enjoyment to the residents within Martin House.”
*See how you can help here: William Jarvis is fundraising for Martin House Hospice for Children and Young People (justgiving.com)
*Martin House supports children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, across West, North and East Yorkshire. See more here www.martinhouse.org.uk