A FLINT travel agents is raising funds for a charity set up in memory of a much-loved teenager who died of cancer.
The five-strong team at Hays Travel, in Church Street, have set their sights on raising £1,000 this year for their nominated charity, Giddo’s Gift, which was launched by the family of Jordan Giddins to remember the popular 18 year-old.
Jordan, who was from Flint, lost his battle with Ewings Sarcoma – a childhood bone cancer – back in April 2017 having faced relentless chemotherapy, ten hours of surgery and more than two months in America for Proton Beam Radiotherapy.
The cancer developed as a result of the harsh treatment Jordan endured after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease when he was just 11-years-old, which eventually resulted in him receiving a bone marrow transplant from his older sister Beth.
The idea to support the charity at Hays Travel in Flint came from Lucy Drury, who works as a travel consultant at the branch. Her brother, also called Jordan, was good pals with Jordan.
Lucy, 28, said: “My brother was really good friends with Jordan. They used to both play for the same football team.
“When Jordan was ill we came together to support him and get him out to America for treatment. That’s how it first started.
“We nominate a charity to support every year and I was keen for us to help Giddo’s Gift. Everyone in Flint gets behind it.
“We did a sponsored 12km walk in the summer which raised £430 and we’ve got a cake sale planned for October 3-5. We usually do well with them so we’re hoping to reach the £1,000 mark.”
Jordan’s mum Mandy Giddins says her son went through so much but always remained positive and had a selfless nature which is why she was so keen to set up Giddo’s Gift in his memory.
She said: “It’s given us something to focus on. When he passed away we felt such huge emptiness. Our hearts were broken forever.
“Jordan was always so positive – he didn’t want cancer to define him.
“Even in hospital he would say to me ‘mum, look how poorly they are’ when he saw another child, even when he would be feeling so poorly himself.
“He would have wanted us to do something to help people like himself.
“Even from a young age, when he was three or four, he always wanted to buy gifts for people. He got pleasure from giving rather than receiving.
“So to be able to give to people who are going through what he went through is massive.
“I get a real reward from what we’re doing. It’s very humbling. These are young people who are going through the biggest battle of their life.”
Mandy says that when Jordan was battling cancer there was no charity or organisation they could turn to for financial help with gifts or days out, which is why she wanted the charity to fill the void.
Giddo’s Gift has already helped more than 50 young people, aged 13-24, and suffering from cancer within Wales and North West England, as well as providing five bereavement grants for families and financial support for Sarcoma UK Research and Histiocytosis UK.
The charity has also started providing a Giddo’s Goodie Box, containing sweets and treats, at relevant wards in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Clatterbridge Hospital, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd.
Mandy said: “It’s about granting gifts and wishes. It could be a phone, a laptop or a pair of trainers.
“We had one young girl who wanted to go and watch a show. Our aim is to bring a smile to their face.
“We had another young girl who’d undergone numerous operations and was unable to walk as a result. She loved shoes and we bought her a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes – it gave her the focus to get back up and walk.
“We’ve had a few cases of young people with terminal cancer where we’ve been able to help someone feed penguins. We’ve also paid for spar weekends and helicopter rides.
“We also provide bereavement grants so we can help families with burial fees and headstones.”
For Mandy another factor in wanting to support families going through the same experience they have is the financial pressure they felt during Jordan’s treatment.
She said: “Jordan loved to go out with his friends when he was feeling well enough and so we like funding trips out which we know Jordan would have enjoyed.
“A lot of families can’t afford it. We spent a year out of work with Jordan. You can’t work when your child is ill. Finances are tight but bills still need to be paid.”
Hays Travel North West, which is the UK’s fastest growing independent travel agency, asks each of its stores to raise at least £500 a year for a chosen charity.
Hays Travel Flint Manager Kim Garforth, said her team was really pleased to be doing something to help boost the Giddo’s Gift funds again, especially when it does such special things for the young people and families it supports.
She added: “It’s nice to support a charity that means something to the area. I know it’s one that is close to the hearts of the staff.”
Her feelings were echoed by Don Bircham, Hays Travel North West Managing Director, who said: “I think the Hays Travel Flint team have picked a very special cause in Giddo’s Gift and the charity thoroughly deserves our support.
“Our stores are in the heart of communities across North Wales and the north west and we receive such great support from them, that it only seems right that we strive to do our bit to support worthwhile local causes such as Giddo’s Gift.”
Mandy has thanked the staff at Hays Travel in Flint for their support and said the backing they’ve received from the community has spurred them on to do even more.
She said: “It’s a fantastic help from Hays Travel – they really get behind the charity.
“So many people in the community have supported us which has spurred us on.”
To donate to Giddo’s Gift direct, go to www.giddosgift.com or pop in to Hays Travel in Flint to leave your donation.