A MOTHER who set up a hospice in memory of her son will hold a special event to mark 15 years since it was founded.

Denise Whiffin, 66, of Great Baddow, launched the Witham-based J’s Hospice after son Jonathan died in 2002. e had been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was just 18 when he died.

His family were told he had the genetic disorder, which causes the muscles to weaken and degenerate, when he was just three-years-old.

Denise said: “As a family we were constantly doing things together and making memories. His condition didn’t stop us, it just meant that we had to be more organised. Jonathan abseiled in a wheelchair, went canoeing and also tried ice-skating on a specialist board.”

A year after his death, Denise had the idea of setting-up a hospice for young adults in his memory.

She said: “Remembering Jonathan, I found myself asking how I could make this better for other people.

“I had experience of looking after my son 24/7 with some support at home and could see the need for specific age-appropriate hospice care for young adults. I spoke to the minister from my church about setting up a hospice for young adults and he gave me his support. Then five of my friends said that they would help and the hospice grew from there. Sometimes it has been a struggle but when you see the end result it has all been worth it.

“I am chuffed to bits and I know that Jonathan would be too.”

Denise is holding a secret garden ball at the Lion House, in Boreham on Saturday, September 22, to raise money. Tickets £50 and include a three-course meal and half a bottle of wine. Doors open at 6.30pm and there will be an auction, raffle and dancing. For more details email zoe.butler@thejshospice.org.uk or call 01245 475474.