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NEWS > Good News Corner > Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation Marks Significant Milestone - 3,000 Families Supported

Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation Marks Significant Milestone - 3,000 Families Supported

Charity Celebrates Pioneering Founder, Jonathan Irwin’s Remarkable Legacy with 3,000 Families Supported since 1997
Photo by Conor McCabe
Photo by Conor McCabe

This week, the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation marks a significant milestone, as the Irish charity announces it has supported 3,000 families through its vital In-Home Nursing and Respite Service since it was set up by its pioneering founders, Jonathan Irwin and Mary Ann O’Brien, 27 years ago.

Having experienced the challenges of caring for their son Jack at home with the help of local nurses until he passed away at home in Kildare at the age of 22 months; Jack’s home nursing care plan became the blueprint for 3,000 children who have been supported by Jack and Jill since then, as Mary Ann and Jonathan vowed that no parents should have to walk this difficult care journey alone. They set about establishing a practical home nursing care model and raising funds to deliver it.

The magnitude of this landmark moment is amplified by the recent loss of Jonathan in December 2023, as the charity vows to carry on Jonathan’s legacy and to continue supporting families with vital in-home nursing and respite care.

Deirdre Walsh, CEO of Jack and Jill said: “We have very mixed emotions about celebrating this moment. While it’s an indicator of Jonthan’s remarkable legacy and impact; we are also reflecting on the fact that these 3,000 unique and beautiful children and their families have needed the support of our service. For so many, Jack and Jill has been, and is still, a lifeline and we are proud to have played any part in supporting families on their terms, with no means test, no waiting list and no red tape.

“It will take approximately €7.5M to fund and provide our vital in-home nursing care service and end-of-life support in 2024, with an estimated €1.7M of our funding coming from the HSE. That’s approximately 22%. So, I’m calling on the public to please help us keep supporting local Jack and Jill families in their communities. Whether it’s holding a bake sale, doing a sea swim, taking on our abseil challenge, shopping in one of our charity boutiques or making a corporate donation; all support is hugely welcome!”

Mary Ann O’Brien, who co-founded Jack and Jill with her husband Jonathan Irwin in their son Jack’s name, commented: “This is such a bittersweet moment. Jonathan would have revelled in this milestone and in the impact of Jack’s legacy in helping so many families. But I have no doubt that he would have also availed of the opportunity to call on corporates and anyone who wants to make a meaningful contribution to support Jack and Jill. I’m proud to carry on the mantle and to keep supporting these wonderful families, because I know too well, the difference it can make.”

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