Have you ever had a loved one in hospital knowing that the hospital funds were strained and wishing that you could do something to help? Well this is how six year old Jack Henderson felt when his baby brother spent many hours in and out of the hospital.
Unlike most of us, Jack stopped wishing he could do something and actually got on and did it. Here is his story:
I spoke to Jack and his father Ed, I was told that ‘Jack is 7 now; he was 6 when he started his idea. He had an idea to raise funds for the ‘Sick Kids’ in Edinburgh, a Hospital that looks after his little brothers, especially Noah who has had breathing problems since age 3 months, he recently had his third birthday. Jack decided to draw pictures in exchange for donations’.
What gave Jack the idea to draw in order to raise funds?
He had been naughty and was taken to a Jumble Sale/Craft Fair with his Mum & I, he took his pencils and pens with him and he was bored so was drawing. He decided to chance his arm and sell one of his drawings to a lady for 20p which gave him the idea as the next day he asked me to build him a website. I am a Web Developer so I helped him, Jack chose all the colours, fonts, layouts and wrote the text, I just implemented it for him; we also setup a Just giving page.
How did you go about disseminating the site?
His target was £100 we weren’t aiming for it to go viral it was really only aunties and uncles, relatives. He reached his target in a couple of hours and £10K in 2 weeks as it went viral. By the end of 2 weeks we had to close drawing requests as he had so many, in the end he drew 536 pictures and raised £32,000+
I don’t think it’s till he is older that he will look back and appreciate what we have done. I am proud of them all, I have 3 boys, they are all smashing and they all helped out even though it has Jack’s name on it.
I see he also has a book out, how did that come about?
I got a phone call from a lady at a Publishers, she had seen a picture on her friends wall and wanted to make a book, Rose and I wrote the words and used a load of Jack’s pictures. It is out in Brazil this week and Taiwan soon.
So how do his peers react to him, do they understand what he does?
Jack: “They think I was very good”
Jack, have you had any requests that you could not draw or did not want to draw?
None, we did ask for nothing unsuitable for his age so most things were OK for him to do. He didn’t like drawing angels as it made him sad and he drew a crocodile that when he sees it he is scared. I asked Jack why angels make him sad, he replied ‘Cause they aren’t with their families anymore’. When I enquired with Ed about how much on average people donate per picture and whether there is a minimum amount, he informed me that ‘There is no set amount, it ranged from pennies to hundreds of pounds’.
If Jack did not draw, did he have any other ideas for fundraising?
I don’t think so it never came up. Jack: Making stuff Models, crafty stuff, I like models and stuff.
Do you post the drawings to people? If so, who pays postage if donations go to the hospital or do you take a cut for materials etc?
Nothing was posted; we took that decision early on. Donations go straight to Justgiving (Sick Kids) so we never handled any money. We got a couple of quid but had a Collection tin from the Sick Kids we put the money in. We scanned, emailed and blogged.
Has he ever thought about digital drawings, in paint or with a drawing board?
He did a few drawings with Photoshop and a drawing package with my laptop.
What was Jacks favourite picture to draw?
What type of impact does Jack appear to have had on other people?
There are many examples, Kids in the US have been doing similar things, 1 kid raised $1600 drawing for Wateraid, other kids drawing and sending to folk, there have been grownups inspired and in tears. Jack got lots of gifts, crayons, drawing materials He donated about 90% of them to Sick Kids, school, playgroups, nursery. Sick Kids are fantastic, always keen to help Family and friends all supportive, helped spread the word, donated, etc. Everything has been positive. A couple of meanies but we ignore them.
Does Jack ever get fed up with drawing?
He is 6; he gets fed up of everything. He loves drawings and we found by giving him lots of breaks, time off, other things he was happy to do his drawings.
So he has only been doing this for a year?
21 March 2011, finished 6 November 2011 since then he has been having a big rest and getting back to doing “some” drawing but nothing the same scale as before. He is still drawing, done a couple special ones for folk that asked nicely etc. But not general public open house type thing.
He still raises money through the just giving site and book sales for any readers that would like to contribute. Is the book selling well?
Difficult question to answer we never expected a book and even when we knew about it, it is hard to predict what was good. Several thousand sold is good, always a few a week. Hopefully the same in Brazil and in Taiwan.
That is a fabulous amount. He must be a truly amazing young man
He is a pain in the backside most of the time, ha ha. No, he and his brothers are all brilliant kids. He did a fantastic thing. And he won’t know what he did till he is all grown up.
How is Noah, does he still attend hospital regularly?
Noah was in hospital maybe 3 or 4 times during Jack’s project. He is in probably quarterly with breathing problems.
Does Jack get any gifts from the hospital or awards etc as a thank you for his efforts?
I think Maureen (Chief Exec) got them some drawing stuff and when he finished they got him a wee Hedgehog trophy (Hedgehogs are his favourite thing).
This happened tonight if you missed it
That is a big move! Is it purely for work?
Yeah, my work.
I wish you all the best! Thank you both for giving up your time to talk to me. I hope as Jack gets older, he realises what a fantastic thing he has done.
So the moral of this story in my mind, is to not let an opportunity pass you by. The smallest of ideas can breed an enormous amount of success and fulfil the dreams of many people. Although Jack may not have continued with his venture, he obviously changed the lives of many people in a short period of time with a unique vision.