Baby Jake – Christmas 2019

Dec 10, 2019

In lieu of offering Christmas gifts to our clients and customers, Carbon Group will once again celebrate the 2019 festive season by making a charitable donation. This year we have chosen to share the joy of giving by supporting the Baby Jake Fund.

Read on to find out more about baby Jake, his recovery and treatment, as well as the logistics of caring for a baby who is in hospital 300km from his family home.

Baby Jake O'Donovan at Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dublin
Baby Jake O’Donovan at Temple Street Children’s Hospital

Christmas is a special time for all families, but not least for one particular Co. Kerry family.

The parents of Jake O’Donovan, Jenny and Alex, along with his big sister, Sadie, will be hoping that, for at least a day or two, baby Jake will be able to return to Tralee to spend part of the festive season in his own home.

Since his birth in November 2018, little Jake has been cared for fulltime at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin. The thirteen month old was born with Omphalocele – this means that some of his organs were outside his body at birth.

While only being given a 5% chance of survival beyond a few days, brave baby Jake has already beaten the odds. In fact, Jake’s parents are in no way exaggerating when they say that their baby boy has “absolutely thrived” – Jake has met his developmental milestones throughout 2019 and doctors are now considering if they can allow him to spend a short period of precious time at home during the Christmas period.

However, getting to this point has not been easy. Jake’s Tralee-based mother and father, Jenny and Alex, are in no doubt that their exhausting, but necessary, commitment for one of them to be with their son every day in hospital has been crucial to the little boy’s impressive progressive. Jenny believes that the secure bond that Jake has with his mum and dad, along with treatment by an “outstanding team” at Temple Street Children’s Hospital has resulted in the family edging closer to the possibility of bringing little Jake home to Co. Kerry on a permanent basis during 2020.

Playtime for Jake O'Donovan at Temple Street Children's Hospital
Playtime for Jake O’Donovan at Temple Street Children’s Hospital

The couple have recently moved house in an effort to ensure that their Tralee home is as suitable as possible for Jake’s needs. Plus, Jenny and Alex are currently liaising with health experts to fit out a downstairs room that will meet their growing baby’s health requirements.

Having spent a year, taking turns travelling the almost 300km trip from Tralee to Dublin and returning another 300km to Co. Kerry to look after their five year old, Jenny and Alex have, unsurprisingly, been feeling the financial strain.

“It’s been an emotionally stressful thirteen months. As well as being committed to being with Jake on a daily basis, we have always been mindful of the fact that we are also parents of a five-year-old girl who needs her mum and dad”, explains Jenny.

“We’ve been fortunate that we have benefitted from accommodation at Hugh’s House where families with children who are long term patients in Dublin hospitals can find a base and ‘home from home’ in the city. However, beyond the voluntary work of the great people behind this ‘home from home’, there is very little financial support for couples like ourselves.”

Earlier this year, advocacy and non-profit organisation, Children in Hospital Ireland, highlighted the difficult situation and financial expense that parents like Jenny and Alex face when they have a child being treated in hospital as a long-term patient.

While the group has called for funding for non-medical costs incurred by families in a similar situation to Jenny and Alex, no such funding scheme has yet been forthcoming.

Hearing Jake O’Donovan’s challenging but inspiring story, prompted Carbon Group to make the decision to give a charitable donation to the Baby Jake fund in lieu of Christmas gifts to clients and customers this year.

Carbon Group Managing Director, Brian Walsh, hopes that the donation will make a real difference:

“This year, we’re delighted to be able to support Baby Jake. We’re hopeful that our donation will make things a little easier for Jake’s family as they continue to remain by his side at Temple Street Children’s Hospital and as they make plans for his eventual homecoming. We look forward to hearing more about Jake’s progress during 2020”.

Carbon Group Christmas/New Year Hours:

We are closing Monday, 23rd December, 2019 at 3pm; re-opening Thursday, 2nd January, 2020 at 8.30am.

We’d like to wish all Carbon Group clients and customers a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!