Published: 21/03/2014 17:00 - Updated: 21/03/2014 11:32

Jack's Pirate adventure

Written byChris Saunderson

A PIRATE adventure has given a Moray teenager who copes with severe disability a swashbuckling boost.

Jack with his mum Lynne and Dreamz4U volunteer Vanessa McWilliam. Photo by Daniel Forsyth.
Jack with his mum Lynne and Dreamz4U volunteer Vanessa McWilliam. Photo by Daniel Forsyth.

Elgin youngster Jack McKenzie cannot tell people what he thinks of his new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed bedroom, but the smile on his face said it all.

Jack, who will celebrate his 16th birthdayon Saturday (March 22), is a real fan of the films starring Johnny Depp and has even been nicknamed ‘Captain Jack’ by friends and family.

Lynne (47) and Jack’s big sister Hollie (19) took him to Euro Disney in Paris a few years ago and his favourite ride was the Pirates of the Caribbean.

So when the Dreamz4U charity offered to give his bedroom a new pirate look, Jack and his mum Lynne were on the crest of a wave.

Dreamz4U Moray volunteers Vanessa McWilliam and Kathleen Robb, both from Fochabers, arranged the makeover which took three days to complete.

Jack went into respite care in hospital for three days while the work was being done to transform his bedroom.

“I loved it,” said Lynne, “and when Jack first came in he had a right look as if to say, ‘Is this my bedroom?’ and when Vanessa and Kathleen came in he gave them a big smile.”

Kathleen said: “The smile said it all and made it all worthwhile.”

The makeover was challenging and fun, said Vanessa, who even sourced Pirates of the Caribbean figures to add extra interest.

“It is great to see how much Jack loves it,” she added.

A super picture of Jack, Lynne and Hollie has them cast in the lead roles in the film and has pride of place on his wall.

Jack, of Seafield Crescent, has a rare chromosome abnormality which means he cannot walk, talk or feed himself.

He has little control over his body movements and has suffered potentially life-threatening seizures since the age of six. However, he can hear and is a very loving child, with a cheeky sense of fun.

His condition means he has refractory epilepsy and at one time endured more than 100 seizures a day, all of them potentially fatal. A pioneering magnetic implant reduced the seizures to several each day.

When Jack has a seizure Lynne has a special magnet which she places over the implant, which is in his chest, and it sends an electrical surge to his brain.

Jack’s big sister Hollie (19), won the Moray Young Citizen of the Year in 2012 for her devotion to Jack and helping her mum. She is now studying arts and drama at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

The Dreamz4U charity, which is based in Dundee, has established close links with the community in Fochabers and Kathleen revealed that the Pigbarians Rugby Festival on Saturday May 24 would again be the major fundraiser locally.

It will involve primary and secondary school matches, a ladies match, the Army v RAF and a North Select side playing the Pigbarians charity team.

This year the event will be raising funds for three children’s hospitals, the Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and the children’s ward at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.

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