A 13-year-old girl from Swindon refused presents for her birthday last year - instead she raised more than £340 in donations for local children’s charity Jessie May.
Kirsty Damerial, who turned 13 on 28 December (2018), asked her friends to make a donation to the children’s hospice at home charity, Jessie May, instead of buying her a gift.
She raised £173 for the charity during a laser disco birthday organised by her mum, which was then matched by her grandad, Peter, totalling £346.
Kirsty said: “I just wanted to do something different for my birthday this year. I was lucky enough to have had a lovely Christmas with my family and I received so many lovely Christmas gifts. I didn’t really need anything else for my birthday!
“I wanted to be able to help less fortunate children and thought Jessie May was such a perfect charity to raise money for. I love the idea that a Jessie May Nurse can come into a child’s home and make such a wonderful difference without the child’s family having to leave the comfort of their own home.”
Kirsty’s mum, Katrina, said the birthday fundraiser had been entirely Kirsty’s idea. She added: “We are all incredibly proud of Kirsty for doing such a wonderfully selfless gesture and for spreading the word of Jessie May and its nurses’ work through her friends and party.”
The passion to support Jessie May, whose nurses have a base at Rombourne’s Kingston House in Swindon, runs in Kirsty’s family. Her grandad Peter Simpson owns Duncan Self Drive Hire in Swindon, who have been supporting Jessie May since last July. As well as matching his granddaughter’s recent birthday fundraising efforts, Peter had Jessie May’s logo printed on their Wiltshire fleet of vans and school mini-buses last year to help raise awareness of the charity.
Debbie Clark, Jessie May’s Swindon-based Fundraiser, said: “I really want to echo Kirsty’s mum’s words – we are incredibly touched by Kirsty’s generosity and selflessness and so grateful for her fundraising. To give up your birthday presents when you’re turning 13 is no easy feat – so well done to Kirsty and thank you so much for being a fantastic supporter of the vital work our nurses do.
“It’s amazing to have such a young, passionate supporter here in Swindon and it was a pleasure to meet Kirsty and her mum when she presented the cheque. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Swindon care team, – and our charity as a whole - when I say a huge thank you to Kirsty and of course her grandad for his support, and reiterate how fantastic you both are. You are both helping us help Swindon families caring for a terminally ill child – so a massive thank you, from everyone at Jessie May.”
For more information about Jessie May visit www.jessiemay.org.uk.