THE LEGACY left by brave dying teenager Josie Grove five years ago is set to reach a major new year landmark.
The donations trust which 16-year-old Josie helped establish before her death from leukaemia in February 2007 is on target to reach £250,000 by what would have been her 22nd birthday next April.
The Corbridge girl who turned down medical treatment so she could get the best from her dying days made sure other dying children would get the best with £500 cash gifts.
The Dragonfly Trust her parents Jacqui and Cliff now run in her name has so far handed out more than 450 gifts across the UK.
And by April 5 – Josie’s birthday – the 500 landmark should have been reached.
Josie’s mother Jacqui this week flew in from her home in Thailand – where Josie grew up – to join the volunteer team in the Trust’s Hexham office.
She said: “We have had very good support from people and expect to reach the £250,000 figure by Josie’s birthday.
“The cash gifts have meant a great deal to so many families, and we intend to carry on above and beyond the 500-gift mark.
“Our aim has always been to support all the children nationally in the UK through the children’s cancer specialist hospitals and if we can achieve that it will be brilliant.”
Jacqui and head of fundraising Jane Dennison joined a team of 15 charity trekkers in Thailand last month who raised over £50,000.
The proceeds went towards installing water filters in the Baan Sop Chock hilltribe village, while the team also visited a 45-child orphanage as well as a camp where 13 children with cancer are facing the same fate as Josie.
“Everybody had paid for a water filter to go into a home, giving the villagers fresh drinking water that they had never had before,” added Jacqui.
“It is a lifesaving thing and really makes an important difference – they were quite moved by that. There are some very sad cases. One four-year-old, Ja Aey, has a rare blood disorder; another girl had a leg amputated; one boy with a brain tumour was confined to a wheelchair.”
Stocksfield student Joss Duncan,18, and Royal Victoria Infirmary nurse Vicky Lockey were among the team in Thailand whose visit coincided with the Loy Kratong religious festival.
“Monks came and blessed the Thai children and we had a little party,” said Jacqui. “We also had a safari, and took the children out for a meal.
“On the last day, we made a photograph album for the children – something they didn’t know we were going to do. We covered 17 kilometres in all, but it was an emotional challenge rather than a physical challenge, for the ‘trek’ was in large part done by bus, train and elephant as well as on foot.”
Jane, who has worked long and hard at fundraising, said: “We have reached a little over 450 cash gifts and we are hoping to have all the children’s cancer specialists on board in the new year. We have many events coming up including a ball at Close House next September, a Ben Nevis trip, people taking part in the Great North Run, a golf event, zip-slide and an abseil from the Baltic, as well as one or two other things we are working on at the moment.
“We are upgrading the website, we also have our lunch clubs, which are proving really successful, and we are recruiting now for the next Thailand trek next November.
“There are many things coming up, and if any new volunteers want to join us we would love to hear from them.”