Care for Kids North Devon has launched an emergency appeal to raise vital funds to get the charity through the covid-19 crisis.

The charity, which supports the families of children in North Devon with life-threatening illnesses, says it won’t be able to help soon as the money will run out.

Founder and trustee, Jacky Massos, says she is seriously worried that the current crisis will force the charity to close, leaving vulnerable families at risk.

She said: “A family supporting and caring for their child is now more vulnerable than ever with the unprecedented challenges covid-19 brings, especially those with immune suppressed illnesses like cancers, leukaemia and heart conditions.

“They need our help more than ever before, but our money will soon run out without your support.”

Every year Care for Kids North Devon helps between 15 and 20 local families.

On diagnosis of a child’s life-threatening illness, they give instant grants of £800 to support families with travel, living costs and loss of earnings. This helps families who are struggling to meet the costs of visiting specialist hospital appointments in Bristol, Exeter or London.

If families are still struggling after six weeks, they are offered extra help.

Jacky said: “Our charity is self-funded and relies on donations, fundraising and sponsorship of events.

“Right now, all our normal fundraising activities have stopped. But families still need our help. Please help us get through Covid-19 and support our virtual fundraising events together we can continue to help care for a child close to you. Donate, share, show you care.”

The charity was established in 2009 by four trustees, Jacky, Fran Greenaway, Jenny Birch and Jo Dunbavin.

Jacky knew all too well what some parents were facing, as her now adult son Jason was four-years-old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and underwent three years of harsh chemo, travelling to Bristol hospital.

To date the charity has supported more than 100 local families by distributing grants to a total of more than £100,000. Over the years the charity’s work has expanded and now includes improvement work at the Caroline Thorpe children’s ward at North Devon District Hospital.

You can donate online at www.careforkidsnorthdevon.org.uk, or follow Care for Kids North Devon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also sign up to one of the charity’s Virtual Races – walk, run or cycle a selection of distances to receive a certificate.