Here at Helen & Douglas House we’re asking local families who are celebrating Father’s Day on 16 June to spare a thought for local Dads like Jason from Bampton whose son Jack is cared for by the hospice.
Father’s Day is a special time for all dads to celebrate the relationship between father and child. On the morning of Father’s Day many children will be handing over hand-made gifts and cards, lovingly folded, painted and glued together. Some dads will be brought a cup of tea or coffee or breakfast in bed. For others, none of this will be possible, but they will still celebrate the fact that they are dads to much loved and special children.
Jack, who has Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, has been coming to Helen & Douglas House with his family for short breaks for respite care since he was two years old, which is 13 years ago. Jack has two brothers Noah aged seven and Leon aged 24.
Jason, Jack’s Dad, talked to us about what Father’s Day is like in their house. ‘It is very much like very much like every other day. We still have nursing and caring responsibilities and medicines to give Jack. But it is also a special day to spend with Jack and his brothers Noah and Leon who will visit. I am made to feel very special by my lovely family. There will be treats, cards and a trip to Silverstone race track. Jack, Leon and I love motor bikes but most of all I love family time.
‘Being a Dad is a privilege to see my children happy, smiling and laughing. I am proud to see them grow up and achieve things. Being a Dad to Jack is all of these things, however it can be heart breaking too. It is difficult to see him struggle with seizures and the many other medical needs he has. It can also be exhausting from many sleepless nights and from the continuous care.
‘Coming to Helen & Douglas House helps us in many ways. It gives us some much need respite from being Jack’s carer and allows us to just be parents. It also allows us to have some much needed time with Noah, Jack’s younger brother who has become very good at occupying himself while we are caring for Jack.
‘Noah set up a stall outside our house to sell some t-shirts he designed and some of his and Jack’s possessions to raise money for Helen & Douglas House recently. He sat there all day and raised £30 and it was all his own idea. I am so proud of him.
‘Jack gets a lot from coming to Helen & Douglas House. Jack really enjoys the therapy pool because he loves being in the water which he cannot do at home. He loves socialising, not just with his family. He also enjoys the amazing hospice garden in the summer. He has built some very special friendships with other families and staff at Helen & Douglas House.
‘Being a Dad to Jack, is a privilege and so rewarding. He is a very special boy, a Daddy’s boy. It’s the smiles and the special little looks that are just for me which are so special.’
Hazel Bedford, Helen & Douglas House Director of Income, said ‘Jason is one of many Dads who come to Helen & Douglas House for support on their difficult and exhausting journey, physically and mentally, to help them care for their terminally ill child. We need to raise £3.6 million a year to care for local families like Jacks and we cannot do this without the help of individuals, businesses and community groups raising money for us or making donations.’