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Children’s charity CHAS raises ‘astounding’ £400,000 through winter appeal

Jaxon Stars, centre, with mum Lisa and brother Anthony.
Jaxon Stars, centre, with mum Lisa and brother Anthony.

A Kinross children’s charity has made more than £400,000 through its Christmas appeal.

CHAS – also known as Children’s Hospices Across Scotland – launched its annual Scotland-wide campaign to raise crucial funds for local hospice Rachel House and Robin House in Balloch.

The drive, including the charity’s first ever TV advert, was kickstarted by the family of young Jaxon Stars, whose story was shared as part of the 2020 appeal.

Perthshire colleagues join forces to raise £10k for CHAS in 25,000-mile fundraiser

CHAS wanted to highlighted that now, more than ever, the charity was determined to ensure no one has to face the death of their child alone.

Jaxon was born two days before Christmas in 2016 with a rare form of epilepsy called Otohara Syndrome, and a neurodegenerative disorder called Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia.

The tot, who suffered from regular seizures, was supported by CHAS through respite visits to Rachel House and also through the CHAS at Home team right up until his death on February 9, 2018, aged just 13 months old.

Jaxon’s mum, Lisa Stars, from Aberdeen, said: “I am in awe at how much the CHAS Christmas campaign has raised and feel so honoured to have played a part in this in memory of Jaxon.

“We all miss him so much and, as he was born at Christmas-time, being involved in the CHAS campaign was a wonderful tribute to him.”

The family held its own fundraiser to mark Jaxon’s birthday, raising more than £500.

“I feel really proud knowing we have helped to raise money for families going through what we went through across Scotland,” said Lisa.

“We received so many lovely messages of support and people have given so generously so I would like to say a personal thank you to everyone for their kindness and their donations.”

Recent research commissioned by CHAS shows there over 16,700 babies, children and young people in Scotland living with a life-shortening condition.

The charity has an ambitious mission to reach every family going through the terrifying heartbreak of seeing their child die young and the need for their services is continuing to rise.

Throughout the pandemic, the charity has had to dramatically transform the way in which it operates and December marked one of the busiest months to date. More than 618 children and families joined in with virtual events and the hospices continued to deliver end of life care.

Iain McAndrew, director of fundraising and communications at CHAS, said: “I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has helped us raise this astounding amount and supported us through a very busy December – we are overwhelmed and incredibly grateful.

“This campaign has also allowed us to reach a whole new group of supporters and partners with almost a third of all gifts coming from supporters completely new to us.

“The need for our care is increasing and the pandemic is continuing to present tough challenges so this marks our most important campaign to date.

“Many of the families who have shared their story have felt lonely and isolated, with their support systems cut off, but people who supported our appeal have shown them that they are not alone.”

A £5,000 donation to the appeal was made by a Kinross businessman whose daughter was supported by the charity.

David Frame of specialist packaging company, Barum & Dewar donated the funds to CHAS at Home on behalf of the company.

His daughter, Rachel received CHAS support and, although the Frame family have not required CHAS services for a number of years, they have continued to support the charity.

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