The founder of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, Jonathan Irwin, is urging people to join with him in celebrating his 80th birthday.
The soon-to-be octogenarian is taking full advantage of this milestone birthday to seek lots of gifts and help raise funds for a cause very close to his heart. Jonathan is urging people to donate €18 at www.jackandjill.ie for a one-hour “Gift of Time” to help fund specialist home nursing care for 385 children with life-limiting conditions supported today by Jack & Jill around the country.
To mark the occasion, the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation has set up a Facebook fundraising page in Jonathan’s name to capture birthday messages and donations, as well as featuring a gallery of stories and pictures dedicated to the man who founded the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation 24 years ago in his son Jack’s name.
Avid readers can also lend their support to Jonathan’s fundraising efforts by purchasing Jack & Jill: the Story of Jonathan Irwin. The book is now available for a special birthday price of €5 from the Jack & Jill charity shops and via www.jackandjill.ie while stocks last.
Flexible & Fast Carmel Doyle, CEO of Jack & Jill, acknowledged the incredible difference that Jonathan Irwin, and his wife Mary Ann O’Brien, have made for countless families since they set up the Foundation in 1997:
“The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation was born arising from Jonathan and Mary Ann’s own difficult care journey when their son Jack suffered permanent brain damage soon after birth, leaving him with severe disabilities and in need of round-the-clock care. Thanks to the help of a team of local nurses and friends who rallied around, they were able to look after Jack at home until he passed away on 13th December 1997 aged 22 months, just short of his
second birthday. Jack’s home nursing care regime would become the blueprint for the Jack & Jill model of care that we know today and which has since helped more than 2,600 families to care for their children at home, where they belong, supported by specially-trained nurses and carers.
“Jonathan’s generosity knows no bounds and using his 80th birthday to raise funds and awareness for the charity he loves was an easy decision for this social entrepreneur who we all admire so much. As a country, we owe a huge debt to both Jonathan and Mary Ann for designing the unique Jack & Jill home nursing care model which always starts with listening to parent carers and is so practical, flexible and fast in the support it delivers. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Jonathan’s vision, courage and drive. Our families, nurses and supporters join me in wishing Jonathan a very happy birthday.”
Birthday Boy As for the birthday boy himself, what plans does Jonathan Irwin have to celebrate his big day? Jonathan commented:
“For me, the best birthday present would be to help raise lots of funds for the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation to help the charity to do what it does best. I am so proud to see the charity extend its age range from five to six years, a hugely positive development which is so welcomed by families and made possible by the continued generosity of people towards Jack & Jill.
“It costs €18 an hour for Jack & Jill to provide specialist home nursing care and that hour is a lifeline for so many families. An hour to take another child to the playground. An hour to meet up with a friend for coffee. An hour to maybe buy an outfit in the summer sales. An hour just to grab 40 winks. An hour, perhaps, to go for a walk in the local park or on the beach. All the while knowing that their child is in the best possible hands. To me, that would be the best birthday present, because there’s no present like the time. That said, I wouldn’t say no to some birthday cake!”
Seven Days a Week Today, the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation funds and provides home nursing care for 385 families around the country, helping to relieve some of the additional pressure on family carers, particularly with so much local respite cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
Typically, Jack & Jill offers 50 hours of home nursing care for families each month, costing up to €10,800 per family per year and the service has kept going across the country, despite COVID-19.
Children supported by Jack & Jill have highly-complex medical conditions whose neurodevelopmental issues may include brain injury, severe cerebral palsy or a genetic condition. Their care needs are very high with over 20 pieces of medical equipment often in the home. There is no waiting list or means test with Jack & Jill and the service operates seven days a week.
If you’d like to mark Jonathan Irwin’s big day and make a “birthday present” of the “Gift of Time” by donating €18 to fund an hour of specialist home nursing care, visit www.jackandjill.ie or call Jack & Jill at 045 894538.
To keep up-to-date on the work of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, follow on Instagram @jackandjillcf, on Twitter @jackandjillcf, and on Facebook @jackandjillfoundation