‘Jake’s Ladybird Bags’ in memory of two year old Jake Flaherty, who passed away due to congenital heart disease, designed for families travelling with their children to hospitals in England and Dublin.
Portadown mum Julie Flaherty, whose two year old son Jake passed away in 2013, was in Parliament Buildings on Monday 23 November at the All Party Group on Congenital Heart Disease to launch the first ever dedicated support packs for families travelling out of Northern Ireland for heart operations.
‘Jake’s Ladybird Bags’, named in honour of little Jake are the first specialised kits for families travelling to hospitals outside of Northern Ireland for treatment. The bags include a range of useful supplies including toothpaste, socks and toiletries. Julie hopes that the child-friendly design, inspired by Jake and his favourite animal, will give comfort to many families in the years ahead. She said:
“Jake’s Ladybird Bags can provide comfort and support for parents and children as they go through difficult hospital visits away from home. Jake’s spirit was an inspiration to us all and I hope this will continue to let families going through what we went through know someone is thinking of them.”
Speaking at the launch, Sarah Quinlan, Chief Executive of Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “These bags will provide practical support to families from Northern Ireland who have to travel to hospitals in Dublin and in England for treatment for their young children. Thanks to Julie’s generosity, Jake’s memory and inspiration will travel with families today and in future as they take these difficult journeys.”
Sarah was speaking as the All Party Group on Congenital Heart Disease met at Stormont for its final meeting of 2015. This followed a meeting between the charity and Health Minister Simon Hamilton last week. At the meeting Sarah outlined the extent of the problems with waiting lists, the continued delay in implementing both the all-Island congenital heart disease networkand a Children’s Heart Centre in Belfast.
The meeting was attended by Robin Swann, Cathal O’ hOisin, Joanne Dobson, Maeve McLaughlin and Rosie McSorley
If you are a family with a heart child travelling to England or Dublin or you know of one, contact Children’s Heartbeat Trust by calling 028 9031 2228 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org to get your Jake’s Ladybird Bag.