Love, Jasmine Honours Daughter’s Memory

For Rob and Kathy Lapsley, from Anfield in Liverpool, losing their daughter Jasmine at the age of six left them with the most unimaginable pain and grief.

Jasmine passed away in the most tragic of circumstances after choking on a grape whilst on a family holiday in North Wales in August, 2014.

The couple spent 25 minutes trying to remove the grape before the paramedics arrived, after which Jasmine was airlifted to hospital.

She passed away at 11.58pm, less than three-and-a-half hours after she had started choking.

Rob and Kathy had two sons at the time – James (now eight) and Louis (now six) – who witnessed everything, and now have a third son, Joseph, aged two.

As they struggled to come to terms with their trauma and devastation, they found there were areas of both practical and emotional support that were sadly lacking.

And so, as time went on, they decided to start a new charity, in memory of Jasmine, and, at the start of 2016, Love, Jasmine was officially launched.

“We wanted to do something in Jasmine’s memory, something that she would be proud of, as she always knew the importance of caring for others,” says Rob.

“It was important that whatever we did meant something, and wasn’t just done for the sake of it – there had to be a need.

“When we lost Jasmine there were certain things that we wanted and needed to access and just couldn’t.

“We were turning to people for help and nobody knew the answers, and it became really frustrating for us.

“We needed more than just counselling and anti-depressants from the GP, and there was also not much help for the boys who had witnessed what had happened to Jasmine.

“The support just wasn’t there, and so we started the charity, and while we never expected it to grow as quickly as it has, that probably underlines exactly why we need to do what we do.”

The help and support provided by Love, Jasmine is extensive.

The charity helps bereaved parents access counselling service and family group work, particularly in areas around Liverpool where those opportunities have proved difficult to find.

Better links have been established with other local organisations who  deal with bereaved families, to ensure they are signposted towards Love, Jasmine.

Encouragement is also passed on to family members to think about their own health and self-care, with yoga, meditation and complimentary therapies providing a vital source of comfort.

A caravan at the five-start Ribby Hall Park in Lancashire has been purchased to provide respite care for families, and, since April, ‘Jasmine’s Retreat’ has played host to 50 such families.

Practical help is also available including advocacy work for families, helping them to find the right information or legal assistance and access to any relevant benefits.

Where perhaps Love, Jasmine also stands out is the empathy they can show to those who require their help, through their own painful experience.

Rob adds: “Sometimes people find it difficult to go to counselling and travelling to appointments can put people off accessing support.

“To help break down these barriers, we provide transport to families, which can get them to and from appointments and it is our aim for families to access support in their own area, without having to travel far.

“They may also be reluctant because they find it difficult to ask for help, feel that they don’t deserve it, or many other reasons.

“When we say why it is that we are doing what we do, it is far easier to establish a relationship of trust.

“It is important for us to then make sure that we keep that trust.

“The big factor for bereaved parents is that sometimes they are reluctant to see a counsellor because they just feel there is no way they will be able to understand what they are going through.

“When they come to us it is easier to understand, because we too have lived it, and that can be so important to the families we speak to on a daily basis.”

The growth of the charity has seen them move from relying on their own fundraising to seeking external grants, in this case £82,986 from the Steve Morgan Foundation spread over three years to help with core costs, including additional staffing.

“We have been a bit surprised by the success of the charity, but it has shown that the need is there,” adds Rob.

“We were doing all our own fundraising, and what we were bringing in could only take us so far, so we had reached a plateau of what we could achieve.

“It was a question of seeking funding from elsewhere to also include giving us some help on a day-to-day basis which we really need to take the charity forward and extend our work into different areas.

“What the grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation will do for us is phenomenal, it really is.

“For some bigger organisations that figure might be a drop in the ocean but for us it is absolutely huge and will help us so much.”

Throughout everything which the charity pursues, and indeed stands for, the memory of Jasmine lives on.

It was set up in Jasmine’s memory and, as Rob points out, she will continue to serve as the motivation for their hugely important work in helping so many others.

“Kathy would say the same as me, the charity has Jasmine’s name on it so it means everything to us that we get it absolutely right,” he explains.

“Everything we do with the charity is in Jasmine’s name.

“We know we can’t fix what has happened, but we can help bereaved families find the support that is right for them.

“Of course it is something we never ever wished we would have to do, but it has become something we are very proud of.”

  • To find out more about the charity and the services they offer, visit lovejasmine.org.uk

 

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