Our History

The Because of Jenna Trust was formed in January 2004 in memory of Jenna Leigh Clarke, the daughter of Garry & Anna Clarke.  Jenna was born on April 19th, 1990 five weeks premature and required major surgeries during the first year of her life, these being brain surgery for Hydrocephalus (more commonly known as fluid on the brain) at seven weeks of age and open heart surgery for a moderately large Ventricular Septal Defect (more commonly known as a hole in the heart) at five months of age. 

Although Jenna pulled through both surgeries well, by month four of her life she started having grand mal seizures and within the first year it was evident that something was very “wrong” and she was diagnosed as “developmentally delayed”.    Anna and Garry soon discovered that Jenna’s condition was very severe and that she would likely never walk or talk, she was legally blind and would require specialized care daily for the duration of her life.    Besides this, Jenna would be plagued by these seizures and other severe illnesses such as pneumonias, often, and thus require several hospitalizations and regularly need medications such as anti-convulsants and antibiotics, both of which took a toll on her overall physiology. 

In January 2000, just a few months shy of her 10th birthday, a large mass formed in Jenna’s abdomen and she was immediately diagnosed with a rare cancer, a cancerous tumor to be exact, known as a mixed germ cell tumor.   A full hysterectomy was required and this surgery was also successful, however, Jenna died almost two years later on December 1st, 2001 after almost a week in hospital due to a serious illness which caused several massive grand mal seizures and she eventually was unable to recover from one of these.

It was after losing Jenna and donating her wheelchair, bath-chair, stander and other equipment to the Albert Cecil Graham Development Centre, that Anna realized that there were a large number of children on the island who were like Jenna, but who were also severely financially challenged and could barely meet life’s basic needs and with caregivers who were unable to purchase the equipment or services required to give their child the best possible opportunity to reach his or her full potential.    By meeting the children who were the recipients of Jenna’s “stuff”, Anna immediately knew that she had to find a way to help.  In her own  words: "Besides truly seeing another child who reminded me so much of my daughter and seeing another child sitting in Jenna’s chair, the entire experience was overwhelmingly emotional and I think it was then that I realized the immense need there was to help children who are like my Jenna, but also underprivileged and needful. I knew I had to help. This was Jenna’s legacy to me.”

She started then ‘pulling her own pocket’ and when she clearly realised it would never suffice she formed the Because of Jenna Trust so that her fundraising efforts could be more structured. With the increase of the activities and more and more kids and their families impacted by the Trust, it was clear the Trust needed to secure donations to be able to keep supporting its work. Today the main fundraiser for the Trust is the Annual Gala featuring a silent and live auctions and attended by supporters and benefactors of the Trust.