Using money raised to help support families coping with illness, Helping Jonah – Helping Others was able to purchase goods for the ward from a list of what was required.
Packed in Christmas gift bags, the charity’s Geoff and Sonia Gillingham, and Jonah Gillingham himself, for whom the charity was set up initially to raise funds for life-saving medical treatment, brought along soft toys, remote-control cars, craft kits and even a baby stroller for the benefit of the ward’s children.
Senior staff nurse Allie Winterton was happy to see the family and their donation of gifts.
‘We’re incredibly grateful to them,’ she said.
‘They asked us what we needed and they came and delivered. They’ve somewhat exceeded our expectations.
‘The children and parents we support during that child’s stay will be all the better for these items, such as teenage duvets, which always come in handy, craft kits to keep children occupied and happy, they’re also good for birthday and Christmas gifts for the children who are on the ward during that time.’
Mrs Gillingham said it was a way of giving back to the ward her son stayed on and to the island’s children, those in need at their most vulnerable time.
‘The island was there for us and Jonah is still here today because of it. We want to continue to show our appreciation for that,’ she said.
‘Jonah stayed on this ward on and off for a few years from age 15. He needed life-saving meds and people helped to fundraise for that, they got really involved selling calendars, charity nights, all sorts from children donating 20ps to adults doing marathon fundraisers.
‘When Jonah got better and no longer needed the money, we looked at ways to keep the help going.
‘Frossard Ward is just one such place but we would love to help even more people who need us to and would urge them to reach out to us.’
Jonah was diagnosed with aggressive leukaemia in June 2014, aged 15, and then underwent a bone marrow transplant in November 2014.
But during recovery in August 2015 he was dealt a further blow and diagnosed with a second life-threatening illness known as aHUS [atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome], an ultra-rare blood disease affecting the kidneys and other organs.
He had needed to raise £300,000 a year to fund treatment that the States could not offer.
Once it was procured, he improved and it was decided he needed only a year’s worth of it.
Jonah said having stayed on the ward during this time, he knew what the items meant to the children.
‘It’s lovely to come back and give back,’ he said.
‘You can feel out of place when you stay here, when you’re going through so much, and gifts like these really help. I hope they bring comfort and joy.’
n For more information, to donate or to request support, visit www.helpingjonah.com.