BBC Radio Bristol’s Ben Prater speaks to Grand Appeal ambassador Paula Banks about her experiences of Bristol Children’s Hospital and about how she is supporting our Children’s Cancer Appeal.
Paula and her family set up the Jack Banks Star Tribute Fund in 2008 in memory of her son Jack who sadly passed away after losing his battle with a rare form of leukaemia when he was just 9 years old. Paula, her family and friends have now fundraised an incredible £50,000 in Jack’s memory for The Grand Appeal. Here Paula tells her story. “I set Jack’s Star Tribute Fund up through the Grand Appeal in 2008 and since then I have been raising funds in the hope that it will make life a little better for all those children I have met over the past years and sadly, for those who will be newly diagnosed in the future.
“Jack’s Star Tribute Fund raises funds for the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and Oncology Ward in Bristol Children’s Hospital. Various fundraising events have taken place over the past few years and my latest challenge was a tandem skydive which took place on 10 April 2011. I was joined by 5 other members of Team Jack who were willing and brave enough to throw themselves out of a plane at 10,000ft. We all had an amazing experience which we will never forget and most importantly bought Jacks fund total to over £36,500. We have spent some of Jack’s fund on ‘Captain Jack’s’ Treasure Chests which are kept full of toys and which provide welcome distraction on wards during invasive treatment. Jack’s fund has also provided Palliative Care Bags to help families care for their child at home and Wii Fits which are used to encourage children to get out of bed, helping towards their physio treatment.
“I am hoping that long term, Jack’s fund will pay for a new modern playroom on the Bone Marrow Transplant & Oncology ward, a special place where children can spend time away from their hospital beds. I cannot tell you how much it means to me when I see how much people have been, and still are, supporting Jack’s fund and I would like to say a huge thank you to them all. He was truly a remarkable boy and I miss him every single second of every single day. I felt that I needed to do something positive out of something that has brought me and my family so much pain and sadness.”