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Jack wanted to spend his energy living life; he had the mentality he could do anything. Absolutely anything.

When his best friend Jack died last year aged just 28, Alex wanted to remember him in a way that did justice to the way that he lived his life. Jack, who had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was determined to live to the full and spend time with his friends and family. Music was his passion and he was a regular on nightclub dancefloors and at music festivals. Jack’s lust for life inspired Alex and partner Dan to plan a fundraiser in his memory, and to make it the kind of event Jack would have loved.

Jack wanted to spend his energy living his life. He had the mentality he could do anything, absolutely anything; that’s what made him such a great friend. We shared lots of experiences and got up to all sorts together.

I first met Jack by chance around 12 or 13 years ago and he quickly introduced me to his circle of friends. I wouldn’t know half my friends now, if I hadn’t bumped into Jack that day and we’re still a really close group all these years later.

Not long after our first meeting, I bought a classic car and I thought I’d see if Jack wanted to come out for a drive. I turned up at his house and his mum and dad helped lift him into the car. They put his fold-up wheelchair in the boot, and off we went. We were friends from then on.

Jack was really inspired by music, he loved Oasis and the Stone Roses – Live Forever was his favourite. He wanted someone to go to festivals with, so we decided to do it; me, Jack and his mum and dad (who I got to know really well too). It became a yearly thing.

What I loved about going to festivals with Jack was his attitude that nothing was impossible

He’d see a big muddy field and decide that he would go right through it in his wheelchair. I’d say, “Jack, let’s go around the outside mate. You can’t get through there.” But he’d be determined and set off. Sure enough, half the time he’d get stuck in the middle and we’d have to go and rescue him, but it was that mentality that I’ll remember – some things weren’t really possible, but it didn’t stop him from trying.

One experience I’ll never forget was at CarFest. We were right at the back of a huge crowd and Jack being the type of person he was decided he wanted to get to the front, where DJ Chris Evans was on the stage. I told him it would be a struggle, but he set off through the crowds regardless, round tables and chairs, over picnic blankets. It took around half an hour to reach the front. All the while Chris Evans had been watching us from his vantage point on the stage and said: “My new friends are coming on stage”.

Jack panicked for a moment, not knowing how he would get up there, but the crowd lifted him up in his electric wheelchair; he crowd-surfed onto the stage! We met Chris Evans and his wife, and got to watch all the bands warming up backstage. That was definitely a moment I’ll never forget.

Jack had a big circle of friends, lots of them had known him for much longer than me, from when he could still walk. But we spent a lot of time together just me and him too, and we’d go out for tea every Wednesday. Right up until the day he died, Jack kept on driving his car. he would come and pick me up and say: “I’m taking us out for tea tonight.” That’s when we’d get talking, and confide in each other. One of those times he said to me: “I want to go out with a bang” and that sticks with me, it feels like something that came from his heart.

Gradually, we saw things get harder and harder for him, as much as we didn’t want to admit it. It was the little things like just having a pint, which used to be no problem. As time went on, it became increasingly hard for him to pick up that pint glass and he’d ask for a pint in two halves, or in a plastic glass, to make it that bit lighter.

Jack died unexpectedly last year, after a night out with all his friends.

We wanted to do something that might help other people live their lives the way Jack did

Jack was my best friend, not a day goes by when I don’t think of him. We wanted to do something to mark the anniversary of his death and celebrate his life. It started as a small idea and became a big fundraiser in his memory – it was something positive that we could do on what was essentially a very hard day.

We had a nightclub full of Jack’s family and friends, with singers and musicians playing some of his favourite music. We even had a stamp made with a picture of Jack’s face. He would have loved it.

Hopefully with more research we can get to the bottom of it, and help so many people that have to go through the same thing.

To donate to Jack’s fundraiser, scan the QR code.

To find out more about fundraising for Muscular Dystrophy UK and how you can get involved, visit https://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/get-involved

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