12-year-old farm accident victim Jake Garrett.
12-year-old farm accident victim Jake Garrett. Contributed

Jake's legacy lives on after freak accident

IT HAS been three years since Mary Valley mum Helen Garrett lost her 12-year-old son Jake in a freak ride-on mower accident on the family farm.

Nobody would have judged her if she had given herself up to ongoing, crippling grief.

But this home-spun woman is made of strong stuff.

Helen's struggle with the loss of her precious boy has instead taken her life in an unexpected direction.

To honour Jake's memory and at the same time do something to help other families forced to deal with the unbearable blow of losing a child, Helen established the Jake Garrett Foundation.

The foundation raises money for country families who have lost a child, to help with the cost of the funeral and do other small things to show support for that family.

The Jake Garrett Foundation Day tomorrow represents Jake's birthday, which is February 29, but is celebrated by his family with the foundation on the last Friday in February.

Since its inception in 2012, it has helped 70 families.

STRONG STUFF: Helen Garrett with the teddy bears she “adopts
STRONG STUFF: Helen Garrett with the teddy bears she “adopts" out to help raise money for the Jake Garrett Foundation. Tanya Easterby

It continues to grow way beyond the boundaries of the Gympie region, and Helen finds herself busier than ever fundraising and helping families where she can.

Helping so many means the foundation needs to raise about $500 every week.

"Since the founding of the foundation we have supported 70 families through their grief," Helen said yesterday.

"To keep the foundation supporting grieving families we need to raise $500 per week to keep up the demand for our services," she said.

"We are now a registered charity and with that we have spread our supportive wings further than the Gympie area, to the whole of Queensland and at times beyond our borders.

"The foundation has sent out 170 bears to children who have lost a brother or sister since the beginning of our adopt-a-bear program.

"For $20 you can gift a bear to a boy or girl who has lost a sibling.

"This Jake Garrett Foundation Day you can support us by buying a support band or making a direct donation to the foundation."

Here are the details to make a donation:

Jake Garrett Foundation BSB: 484-799 a/c 504874498.

Goldfields Plaza and Gympie Central shopping centres will be participating tomorrow, along with schools and businesses around the state.

Contact Helen on 0448 121 040 for info on where you can buy a wristband, adopt a bear or donate.

Gympie Times

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