I Haven’t Come This Far To Only Come This Far
When Jack Morgan passed away at just 22-years-old, he’d achieved more than many in over 70 years on this Earth.
He became an inspiration as he blogged on Instagram (itsme_jmo) about every step of his two-year journey with a rare form of cancer. His determination, openness and honesty in his posts led to a following of almost 30,000 and support from across the world, including footballer Paul Pogba and musician Craig David.
Jack beat Stage 3 cancer but when it returned and the chemo was unsuccessful he embarked on a clinical trial in Belgium in March 2019 and began receiving support from North London Hospice.
NLH provided symptom relief at home in Barnet to the graduate of Bristol University, whose Department of Engineering and Maths has since created the Jack Morgan Award for Ardour in his memory. A proud moment for the family, as was attending Jack’s graduation ceremony on his behalf in February 2020. Parents Grant and Emma and his three siblings, Joshua, 22 and 18-year-old twins Charlotte and Sam were all there.
North London Hospice’s Dr Jo Brady and nurse Kevin Yates visited Jack regularly to help with his symptom management. “Jack and Dr Jo are angels on Earth,” explained Jack’s dad Grant. “Jo was, and still is, an incredible support. Jack had a phenomenal brain and it felt like he knew more about his condition than many medical professionals. He wanted to understand what was happening to him and shared his experiences with the wider world.”
In the summer of 2019 it was suggested Jack came into the Hospice’s Finchley in-patient unit for a week for specialist care. “He didn’t want to come in but Dr Jo explained that many people come for symptom management and then go home. And when we arrived it had a very homely environment. The staff were phenomenal; the nurses so caring. We as a family have never experienced anything like that level of care and compassion before.”
After a week Jack left the Hospice and spent two weeks in hospital before returning home in August, where he received the devastating news that the clinical trial hadn’t worked.
“Jack really wanted to be at home and we wanted him there too. He needed specialist equipment and the Hospice just made it happen. They took all the stress of the admin and phone calls away and arranged all the things he needed.”
Jack passed at home at 1.30am on August 26, surrounded by his family. “He’d made the decision to pass on this particular fight, part company with his nemesis and focus his energies elsewhere. The hospice provided a nurse on that night and she was there to make things that bit easier for Jack and all of us”.
“People perceive that a hospice is all about end-of-life care…..but it’s so much more than that. Our own experience is testament to this. Five months after Jack passed, we still have a relationship with North London Hospice.”
Dr Jo Brady added: “Jack truly was a remarkable young man who, through his brilliant brain, taught me lots about science and we negotiated treatment plans collaboratively. But more than that he taught me to live life as fully as possible, to keep fighting for a better day and the power of sharing stories. I feel lucky to have spent time with him and his family and am eternally grateful for their support of the hospice. He leaves a footprint in my heart.”
Jack had a passion for AI (artificial intelligence) and the science behind it. During his illness he put his knowledge and experience together and worked with Bradley Gudger to create an app called Alike (www.alike.org.uk) to bring people affected by cancer together. “He was totally selfless and always wanted to help others,” said Grant. Fundraising is underway to bring the app to market in the coming year and Jack will be made an Honorary Patron. It’s one of many projects the Morgan family have planned as part of Jack’s legacy.
The Morgan family and Jack’s friends have already raised thousands of pounds for causes and charities that supported Jack, including North London Hospice, which received over £9000 from a football tournament arranged by his best friend Teddie in November.
Throughout his illness Jack’s mantra became ‘I haven’t come this far to only come this far’ and this powerful message is being used on a new fashion collection launching on 29 February 2020 created by the presenter of You, Me and the Big C and Girl vs Cancer, Lauren Mahon. Twenty Five per cent of proceeds from the collection will be donated to North London Hospice. View the campaign and the range at https://girlvscancer.co.uk Accompanying the launch on the extra day this leap year, is the #BeMoreJack social media campaign which urges people to use that extra day to do good. The campaign has received a groundswell of momentum with hundreds of people pledging to do or start something positive or generous on February 29 in honour of Jack Morgan.