Mum of 13-year-old boy: 'You never know if the next Christmas is the last one'

The mum of a 13-year-old boy suffering from a life-limiting condition is  calling on people in Leeds to support Martin House Children’s Hospice and make every Christmas count for seriously ill children and young people.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:45 am
Jack Mangan with his brother Josh and sister Georgia meeting Santa Claus.

Rachel and Richard Mangan's son Jack has a life-limiting undiagnosed genetic condition and is one of more than 440 children and young people supported by Martin House, which has just launched its Christmas appeal.

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Rachel and Jack Mangan.

Jack was diagnosed as a baby with conditions that meant his brain hasn’t grown properly and he has a poor swallow, causing him to choke on food.

He also suffers from epileptic seizures which starve his brain of oxygen.

Rachel, who also has children Georgia, 11, and Josh, eight, added: “You never know if the next Christmas is the last one, or the last one he enjoys, so you just live it like it’s your last.

“As a family we try to make enjoyment out of everything. We don’t know how long we’ve got him for, so we need to live life every day as it comes.

“But there’s also a grief creeping into Christmas now – even though he’s 13, Jack’s presents are still rattles, when he should be interested in the new PlayStation.”

Martin House cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions from across West, North and East Yorkshire.

It costs nearly £9 million a year to run Martin House, and it relies on fundraising and donations for nearly 90 per cent of that total.

Clair Holdsworth, chief executive, said: “Whenever families need our care, we are here for them all year round – and that includes over Christmas and New Year. Whether it’s advice

over the phone, or if a child needs to come to the hospice for urgent symptom control or end of life care, our care is 24/7, 365 days a year.

“Every Christmas our families have with their children is precious, because for some it may be their last. That’s why we need to make sure we make every Christmas count for them,

and we need your help to ensure we’re here for families when they need us most.”

To find out more and to support Martin House’s Christmas appeal, visit

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