Help Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation raise €1M as demand for vital service increases


The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation has been trying to keep up with the increased demands of their services in recent times. They hope to raise €1M through their Christmas appeal to support children with highly complex and life-limiting medical conditions to stay at home, in their community, where they belong.

The wonderful Jack and Jill’s Children’s Foundation provides vital in-home nursing care and respite support for over 400 children with severe to profound neurodevelopmental delay, up to the age of 6. This may include children with brain injury, genetic diagnosis, cerebral palsy and undiagnosed conditions. Another key part of the Jack and Jill service is end-of-life care for all children up to the age of 6, irrespective of diagnosis.

The nationwide charity has recorded a 16% rise in the hours of nursing care it provided to families in 2021, with a higher increase expected for this year and with just over 25% of funding coming from the HSE, the charity is calling on the public this Christmas in the hopes of raising enough funds so they can continue their ever-so-important work.

For parents Shane and Clare McHugh, who live in Maynooth with their three children, the support they receive from Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation is crucial as their four-year-old son, Ben, is cared for with the help of the charity.

Ben’s condition remains undiagnosed, despite extensive tests. He suffers from epilepsy, autism, sensory, autonomic and sleep disorders, meaning he can be awake for hours at a time. Ben also can’t feed himself, talk or walk.

When speaking about the amazing help the foundation has been for them, Shane and Clare explained, “Jack and Jill came into our lives at a time when we really needed help. The hospital knew we needed help and the care that Ben required for his neurological condition before we realised it, we were living from day to day trying to manage both Ben in the hospital, our three-year-old Ellie at home and a pregnancy”.

“Within 2 weeks Jack and Jill understood Ben’s requirements, arranged for nurses to help and meet Ben face to face. It’s the speed and efficiency with which Jack and Jill initiated the care for Ben that helped us manage at a very difficult period that we will never forget”.

“We didn’t have to fight for their help, as we do for most things for Ben. We wouldn’t have been able to fight at the time as all our energy was being put into trying to keep our heads above water”.

“Jack and Jill provide us with a blanket of care and security around Ben. Knowing that he is in the best hands enables us as parents to prioritise other things, whether that be quality time with our other children or to get a night’s sleep to function through the week. We’re eternally grateful that June and the nurses have become friends and part of our extended family as we traverse the unknown path of an undiagnosed child with complex medical needs”.

Christmas is an important time for families to spend quality time together, but for the McHugh family they have to be prepared for the unexpected. Last year, for example, on Christmas morning, Ben suffered a significant seizure where he went unconscious and stopped breathing for a period of time. This meant Shane and Clare’s priority was Ben. “For our other children, this becomes part of their life, but we try to ensure it goes back to being Christmas day again”.

Jack and Jill’s in-home nursing care gives the McHugh family and over 400 other Jack and Jill families in communities across Ireland  just like them, time together, and time for each member of the family to enjoy their own Christmas celebrations, making it a very vital service.

If you’re looking for a gift for your loved one this Christmas, have a look at Jack and Jill’s Christmas Collection as part of their Home For Christmas appeal. You can purchase a lovely gift for someone special in your life and support local families during this festive period through providing home nursing care hours with each gift bought or donation made.

From Paul and William Costelloe’s Find a Diamond Jack and Jill candles to The Odlum’s Big Book of Baking, there is something to suit everyone as a thoughtful present to wrap under the tree.

You can also simply make a donation to help the Jack and Jill Foundation to support families like the McHughs, keeping families #Home4Chrstmas as the demand for their important services continue to increase. Click here to donate.

To hear Ben’s Dad Shane tell their Jack and Jill story, watch the video below.