Twin sister of Jodie Vasquez holds one last fundraiser in her name

  • Video report by Matthew Taylor.

The twin sister of an inspirational fundraiser and Pride of Britain winner has held a final fundraiser in memory of her.

It would have been the 26th birthday of Jodie Vasquez, from Carlisle, who died last year following a ten year battle with an rare illness.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is an incurable disease, which affects the collagen and connective tissues in the body. It eventually leads to multiple organ failure.

In her short life, Jodie raised thousands of pounds for Cumbria's Children's Hospice, which cared for her and cares for other children and young people with life-limiting illnesses.

Her twin sister Emma has decided to raise money in her memory, and has already reached a target of £50,000. Emma said: ""Before Jodie passed she said she didn't want any fund raising done after she died.

"She didn't have no donations at her funeral so she was quite to the point about that but I felt like we had to get to that 50 and I had to so something.

"It's the first birthday without her and it's really hard so maybe it's more for me for comfort as well as it is to carry on her name but I think she'd be thrilled that we got to £50,000 and that it is helping the hospice during this time."

Jodie passed away last year. Credit: Family photo.

The jigsaw fund raising appeal, like many other charities, has been hit by the coronavirus; some events have been postponed and shops are closed.

Emma believes that her sister's legacy will help to remind people of how important their work is. She said: "I feel like she really made something of her life when she probably couldn't have.

"I don't know anybody else who would have taken on her mind set, her belief, her strength, her pure happiness - anybody who will talk about Jodie will tell you about her smile and I don't think anyone would've dealt with it the way she did.

"There will never be anyone like Jodie and the way she dealt with her illness and the hardships in her life she was so inspiring for people who are poorly and maybe going through similar things right now. She was a real beacon of light for everyone."

Jodie also supported the Royal British Legion, and was the 'Poppy Princess.' Credit: ITV Border

The fund raising comes on the day that would have been the twins' joint 26th birthday. "I suppose on your birthday you will have very mixed feelings because as twins you shared the birthday day together", Emma said.

"We were born into this world with each other and it's hard to be here without her, but I still feel there's a lot of times in the day she enters my mind.

"Although physically she can't be here, which is absolutely heart-breaking, but if she was still here I can't imagine how much pain and suffering she'd be in.

"I like to think of her sharing her birthday somewhere else where she's really happy."