Jake Macaree: Three peaks challenge raises thousands in memory of Burnley's 'amazing little fighter’
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Derian House Children’s Hospice began supporting Jake when he was just two weeks old, as well as his mum Lauren, dad James, and big sister Lilly, six.
Jake spent his final days at the hospice and was laid at rest in one of the hospice’s Sunflower Rooms, allowing his family more time to say goodbye.
In Jake’s memory, parents Lauren and James were joined by 80 people – including James’ son and Jake’s older brother, Lewis – in a huge trek over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Derian House in June.
The challenge has so far raised more than £15,000 for the Chorley children’s hospice, which cares for 400 babies, children and families each year.
“Derian House has played a massive part in our lives.” Said Jake’s mum, Lauren Macaree.
“Jake was diagnosed with Lissencephaly, a set of rare brain disorders where the whole or parts of the surface of the brain appear smooth. Because of this, Jake suffered many seizures and was in and out of hospital during his short life.
“You hear ‘children’s hospice’ and you think the worst, but they are not what you think they are at all. Derian House is filled with so much love and happiness.” Lauren continued.
“At Derian House we were able to swim together in the hydrotherapy pool. Jake loved water. He had so much joy when in the pool and it meant that we could spend quality time as a family. We had fun at playgroup and in the messy play room. We loved music therapy, relaxing in the sensory room and watching films together in the cinema. We even went on holiday in one of Derian’s holiday lodges. All of those moments are so important for us now.
“We spent Jake's final days at the hospice and there was honestly nowhere else we would have rather been. Jake rested in a hospice Sunflower Room and we had more time to say goodbye. Casts of Jake’s hands, fingerprints and feet were made for us – so that we could remember him. Derian helped us make special memories that you wouldn't get anywhere else. At the worst possible time in our lives, Derian was there. Once you are part of Derian you are a part for life. They throw their arms around you if you want it. And if you don't, it's there when you are ready – nothing is ever too much.”
When asked about the Three Peaks Challenge, Lauren said: “It was an exciting day. Someone described it as feeling as sense of ‘togetherness’ – which I felt was right. All of those people came together for Jake.
“The challenge was hell, but we did it. We did it for Jake – our beautiful boy and amazing little fighter. Towards the end of the hike we felt very emotional. My mum brought Lilly to meet us at the end. There was no better feeling than that. Thank you to everyone that did it with us, who supported us. Thank you for your donations to the charity that cared for our family. It all means the world to us.”
The idea to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in Jake’s memory began with Burnley company, Ring Stones, where Jake’s dad James is managing director.
James said: “All of this was for Jake. The idea began with Ring Stones, but several other companies of the Calico Group took part and the event just got bigger. There were 80 of us hiking but another 100 people came along to support us and hand out refreshments. It was a very emotional day for us all. It was incredible to see everyone come together for Jake.”
Ann-Marie Fishwick, community fundraiser at Derian House, said: “What a perfect way to remember an incredibly brave little boy.
“Thank you to Lauren, James, and the team from Ring Stones and the Calico Group for going above and beyond – not only have they raised vital funds to care for families like theirs, but they have also raised awareness of what we do and the impact it has.
“While care is free for families, it will cost £6million to run services at Derian House in 2023. We rely on the generosity of our kind-hearted supporters for 70p in every £1.”
People can still contribute to the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge in memory of Jake Macaree here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jakemacaree