Remembering Jake Perkins
I remember talking to Alex Perkins, one of Jake's three older brothers, in late September, on the day that his little brother had been rushed to the hospital due to complications with one of his lungs. He spoke about the most biting panic he had ever experienced when Jake started to have trouble breathing, shortly after a visit from his Grandfather. Jake was swiftly moved from the hospital bed set up in the living room to the family car, and both of his parents rushed to the hospital. After a long wait at home, Alex managed to get in contact with his Mother Susan, who filled him in on the events that had transpired up to and in Our Lady's hospital in Crumlin. And, believing it impossible before the call, the incomparable sense of trepidation he had just felt had been supplanted by a stronger emotion. Pride.
After being put down on one of the hospital beds, he was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe. However, he kept taking the mask off. Not because he was uncomfortable wearing it, but because he was trying to say something. He repeated it over and over, as twelve nurses surrounded the bed, administering sedatives to help him drift off to sleep. "I love you, Dad". With Jake always being close to his mother, he wanted to comfort his Dad, even if it meant losing his main source of oxygen.
Born in Coombe hospital on November 8th, 2009, Jacob Perkins grew up in Clondalkin with his family of eight. His older brothers Alex, Davey and Tristan, his sisters Kayleigh, Veda and Susie, and his loving parents, Doug and Susanne. He attended Scoil Talbot in Bawnogue before he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, while in sixth class. Despite the challenges he faced during treatment, Jake remained positive and always had a smile on his face, winning the hearts of all the staff at Our Lady's hospital.
Speaking about her brother, Kayleigh said "Jake was a true joy to be around, with a love for art, singing, dancing, video games (he loved Donkey Kong in particular!), and making TikToks.
"He was particularly fascinated with Disney, collecting antiques and his favourite movie was The Little Mermaid. He was fascinated with mermaids ever since he was four years of age and owned over a hundred mermaid dolls".
Kayleigh added "One of our fondest memories of Jake was when he dressed up in drag and sang Copacabana with drag queen and comedian Dame Stuffy in the Red Cow. He was born to perform and loved every second of it. We loved watching him."
Kayleigh also recalled fond memories the family had with Jake in Centre Parcs, Daisy Lodge, Barretstown, and a Princess party that was organised by the Make a Wish Foundation at Palmerstown House. Jake always dreamed of being a celebrity, and he loved arriving at the party in a blacked-out limo. Jake also reprised an important role as the face of the Cancer Fund for Children (CFFC), raising awareness for cancer and appealing to the Irish government to provide support for further support for children in Ireland with cancer.
In the last few months of his life, Jake's family and friends worked to create as many special memories with him as possible. From bowling at Centre Parcs to being the face of Cancer Fund for Children in County Down, Jake's zest for life never wavered. Even in his final days, Jake got to live out one of his dreams by appearing on television on the RTÉ show Fair City.
Jake passed away on the 8th of November, 2022. His funeral mass was adorned with orange dresses, ties and socks; his favourite colour.
"Jake was such a unique and wonderful little boy with a contagious personality. He was so loved by all of his family and friends and will be forever missed,” said Kayleigh.
“He was the baby of our family. He had 3 older brothers and 3 older sisters and a mam and dad who all miss him terribly. Our hearts are broken and our house is quiet and empty without him."
Rest in peace, Jake Perkins, a young boy who touched the lives of so many in his brief time on earth... You will be forever loved and never forgotten.
CFFC is a charity that provides support to families with a childhood cancer diagnosis and it is seeking support to fund further nursing specialists. Please visit https://cancerfundforchildren.com/ to learn more.