On the 28th September 2016, Love, Jasmine was registered as a charity with the Charities Commission, approximately three and a half months after we finally decided to stop dithering and commit ourselves to launching the charity in Jasmine’s name. But in reality, the charity’s inception was long before then. We just didn’t know it at the time…
Our daughter Jasmine passed away at 11:58pm on 19th August 2014, a little under three and half hours after she began choking on a grape while we were on holiday in Morfa Nefyn, North Wales. At that moment, that devastating moment when Jasmine’s heart beat for the last time, setting up a charity and trying to find some positive out of the hell that Kathy and I had just found ourselves in was the last thing on either of our minds.
However, in the days before Jasmine's funeral we set up a justgiving page just so that people could donate to the Make A Wish Foundation instead of buying flowers. We never expected the response that immediately followed and thousands of pounds were raised in a matter of days. We then went on to do a fundraising night three months after Jasmine’s death. Friends and family all went out of their way to raise money in Jasmine’s memory in the months following the fundraising night by doing such things as walking from London to Brighton, running marathons and trekking in Nepal. We were really humbled by the response of everyone who went out of their way to help raise money. People cared and raising money in memory of Jasmine was their way of doing something to help. In just over a year approximately £30,000 was raised in her memory. It was astonishing.
We thought about setting up something around the time of the fundraising night for Make A Wish, but I’m so glad we didn’t, we weren’t up to it and we wouldn’t have seen it through. We weren’t to know at the time, but things were to get a lot worse when we began receiving documents for the inquest in January 2015. It was to be another year after that before the inquest was heard and we’re still dealing with the aftermath of that. Had we begun something before then, when we first considered it, it would have failed. The preparation for the inquest was all consuming.
In early summer 2016, Kathy had to leave her job. It became impossible for her to carry on with it and it was at this point that we decided that it was now or never to start the charity. It was the right time to start getting the ideas and thoughts that were in our heads into reality. We knew what we wanted to do with the charity, who we wanted to help and why. We also made an effort to make sure what we wanted to do was needed. It wasn’t enough just to do something in Jasmine’s name, we had to make sure we could make a difference.
We actually took a long time deciding on the name. The only thing we agreed on was that Jasmine’s name had to be in it and we eventually decided on Love, Jasmine. The help we provide is because of her, it’s from her.
So, what now? Well our first support groups are well under way, with more to come in the coming weeks. Bereaved families are benefitting from our complimentary therapies and we’ve only just begun. There’s so much to do, because an undeniable, cruel fact of life is that children will continue to die for many reasons and although we can never fix anything, we will hopefully ease some of the burden for the families that we come into contact with.
I’ll be making regular blog posts. Some posts will deal with the work of the charity; what we’ve achieved and what our plans are. Other posts will deal with issues that affect bereaved families, such as mental health issues, inquest funding, financial issues, returning or not returning to work as well as the impact the loss of a child has on family relationships. I’ll also look at how we’ve dealt or in some cases not dealt with the loss of Jasmine and how it’s impacted our other children.
Jasmine is at the centre of everything that we do, this charity is in her memory and that of her cousin Grace and every other child who is no longer here.