Great Baddow’s very own Denise Whiffin, who founded The J’s Hospice, has won the Prime Minister’s Point of Light volunteers’ award. Great Baddow’s community is officially part of the Big Society!
Denise set up J’s after the death of her son, Jonathan. J’s provides palliative care for 16 to 40 year-olds in Essex and it was the first charity of this kind to be set up in Essex.
Denise’ son was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of three and died 15 years later in January 2002, when he was still only 18 years old. Jonathan loved dolphins and Denise decided to pay tribute to him and his love by using a dolphin in J’s logo.
When Jonathan was a teenager his care needs changed and Denise realised that there was a need for hospice and respite care for young adults who had outgrown children’s hospices.
Denise said: “If this award could achieve anything, I hope it helps to let other young adults in Essex know there is age-appropriate care and support available to them through J’s Hospice.
“Our aim has always been to help young people to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Nobody knows how much time we have and we want to help them make the most of theirs.”
Mr Cameron understands the pain parents go through when their children are very ill. His son Ivan died aged six. He said: “Losing a child is the most difficult and most painful experience imaginable, but Denise has done an incredible thing in honouring the memory of her son Jonathan.
“Denise is an inspiration to us all and I am delighted to recognise her as a Point of Light.”
Chelmsford MP Simon Burns added: “As a patron of J’s Hospice, I am absolutely delighted Denise has won. This is richly deserved.”
Great Baddow has always been proud of you Denise and now Great Britain is proud of too. Well done!