TWO politicians have taken part in a marathon to raise money to help turn tragic teenager Jak Trueman’s final dream into reality.
The 15-year-old from Mid Calder launched an appeal to create Jak’s Den, a special retreat for children affected by cancer, shortly before he died from a rare form of the disease in February.
Jak’s broad smile and bravery inspired thousands of people around the world to send donations and messages of love and support to his fundraising campaign, the Team Jak Foundation.
Now, two West Lothian parliamentarians, Almond Valley MSP Angela Constance and Livingston MP Hannah Bardell have chipped in with their own money-raising efforts by running the Loch Ness marathon.
The foundation’s hope is eventually to raise just over £3m to establish Jak’s Den, where older children hit by cancer can relax, receive support and enjoy comfortable surroundings designed to cope with their special needs.
At its heart would be a sterile cafe providing food and drinks suitable for their special needs.
Ms Constance told The News: “I haven’t run a marathon since 2009 so this was me putting my toe back in the water.
“The Loch Ness Marathon was beautiful but challenging.”
She added: “I’m delighted that we were able to raise funds for Team Jak, which is a wonderful local cause.
“Jak Trueman’s legacy of bravery and selflessness has touched many lives, and through his foundation will continue to do so.
“I encourage everyone to consider making a donation towards Jak’s Den to make Jak’s dream of helping others a reality.”
Ms Bardell went out of her way to mention Jak in her maiden speech in the Commons in June and highlight his fundraising efforts to other MPs.
Jak died from a rare form of blood cancer just ten days after doctors told him his illness was untreatable.
He still managed to take his girlfriend Hannah Boyd to a hastily arranged end-of-school prom.
And Jak was later named posthumous winner of the Evening News Local Hero Award.
His mum, Allison Barr said: “I am delighted that Angela Constance and Hannah Bardell have both embraced everything about Jak’s Den and Team Jak’s charity.
“We are really grateful for the help.”
She added that the charity has now raised £120,000 in total and has an upcoming meeting with the council – to establish if there are any suitable premises available for Jak’s Den.