£100, 000 fundraising target reached in memory of brave Sheffield teenager Jack
and live on Freeview channel 276
When he died in October 2018, The Totley teen’s death sparked a movement, inspiring his family, friends, and community to join forces to raise funds in his name.
This month, TeamJack hit their incredible fundraising target of £100,000 which, at Jack’s request, has now been donated to Sheffield Children’s Hospital’s ward five, where Jack received treatment, and CLIC Sargent.
And, fittingly, the fundraising campaign, which was launched by Jack himself, shortly before his death, was pushed to its target by money from Jack’s own wallet.
Jack’s mum, Sally Westnedge, said this week: “It makes me quite emotional to talk about it, but when Jack became ill, he sold his old phone to his grandpa for £80.
“We had just left the money in his wallet – I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.
“It was Jack himself who instigated the fundraising, setting up a JustGiving page while he was undergoing chemotherapy on the neurosciences ward.
“We had events planned this month to get us to our total, that obviously had to be cancelled due to the current social distancing, so when I found out we were just short, I knew what we had to do.
“As well as being the joker everyone remembers, Jack also had a very caring side.
“His dad, Dan, and I were sobbing down the phone when I suggested we use the money from his wallet, but it felt right.
“This has always been about him, and it’s fitting that it was Jack’s own money got us here.”
In the months since Jack’s death, his supporters have taken on a host of events, from races, sponsored walks, and triathlons, to bake sales, and charity stalls.
Local pubs have held collections, long-lost friends reconnected to pledge support, and hospital staff wore special ‘Team Jack’ badges emblazoned on their uniforms.
Jack’s dad, Dan, said: “Having Jack take us across the line really hit home, it was a moving moment.
“What we have been able to achieve together has been nothing short of incredible.
“I would never have dreamed to raise so much, all in the name of a very courageous young man.”
The money raised has been split broadly evenly between two causes close to Jack’s heart, The Children’s Hospital Charity and CLIC Sargant.
The fundraising is already having a positive impact at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Jack spent 79 nights continuously on the neurosciences ward and three of his suggestions for improvement; video games consoles, new curtains, and two specially adapted wheelchairs, have already been funded.
Sally added: “It’s great that the ward now has some nicer surroundings and we’ve helped to make things brighter.
“The Children’s Hospital Charity listened to Jack’s suggestions and they’re already making a difference.”
For Jack’s parents, the fundraising drive effort has also helped them deal with the loss of their son.
Sally said: “After everything that happened when Jack passed, I felt lost.
“The fundraising gave us a sense of purpose and a focus, to build on Jack’s legacy and continue helping other people.
“It’s just been amazing how many people have stepped forward and asked ‘can I join Team Jack?’
“Jack’s friends have been phenomenal too.
“The support they have given his younger sister Emily at school has been amazing, and it’s such a relief to know they will always look out for her.
“They also included us in celebrating their GCSE results and their prom; those were very difficult days but it meant an awful lot.”
Dan added: “Being able to fundraise and train for events has personally allowed me to keep my focus.
“Without that kind of structure in my life, I honestly don’t know what would have happened.
“The Children’s Hospital Charity’s team have been great, and TeamJack as a community has provided a sense of normality and allowed us to get to a point where we are in a good place.
“I know for sure, that what we’ve been through has brought us closer together and made us stronger.
“We will continue to raise as much money as we can.
“The next milestone might take a little longer to reach, but it will be just as important.”
Rachael Thomas, events fundraising officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “I was really moved to find out that Jack himself helped the fundraising in his name reach this incredible total.
“We’re so thankful to everyone in TeamJack who continues to dedicate themselves tirelessly to this effort, which has already achieved so much.
“It is lovely to know that the fundraising has already been used to help improve the ward’s surroundings, particularly for older patients, in a legacy that is sure to last for generations to come.”