Camp Simcha’s Pesach appeal is being fronted by a Borehamwood 14-year-old who explains why her life is different to most other children – and how the charity makes it better.
Abi Jacobs was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the end of 2020. She says it changed her physically and mentally.
“I used to be so busy and active, out having fun with my friends all the time. Once I got diagnosed and started treatment, I was too tired to go out; chemotherapy made me feel sick and exhausted.
“There was a risk my blood wouldn’t clot if I hurt myself and I would have to go back into hospital. I just wanted to be with my family where I felt safe.
“Camp Simcha helped my family by taking care of everything else so they could take care of me. They just knew there were things we needed and arranged them without us asking.”
A dedicated family liaison officer provides emotional backing, ensuring the family receives bespoke care, from transport to hospital appointments and therapeutic singing lessons for Abi, to equine therapy for her brother Josh, who has struggled to cope with Abi’s illness.
Abi’s mum, Lara, recalled that the diagnosis was made in the middle of the night. “We were admitted to hospital then and there. The next day, Sam, the family liaison officer, got in touch and told me she was sending in some things I might need.
“Sam arranged so many practical things, as well as the equine therapy for Josh, but also lovely treats to boost us.”
Abi says the singing has been a big part of how she has coped with her diagnosis and treatment. It had been a therapeutic way of expressing her emotions, so much so that last June, she released a charity single to raise money for Camp Simcha and other charities that have supported her, as well for her future care needs.
Her cover version of Jealous by Labrinth has raised more than £12,000 to date. There have been messages of support from celebrities including Matt Lucas, Jodie Whittaker and Emma Willis.