Young Carer, by her brother’s side as he battles with Leukaemia
***Young Carers Action Day 16th March***
For kids who Care
It is Young Carers Action Day on 16th March.
1 in 12 children becomes a Young Carer at some point during childhood.
·There are young, unsung heroes in every neighbourhood, such as the inspiring, kind, twelve-year-old Maisie who has been helping to look after her seven-year-old brother Leo as he overcame his battle with Leukaemia.
Her key message is to ‘Be kind. Sometimes children have things going on at home that you don’t know about.’
Maisie is brimming with positivity, in spite of the fact that it has been a tough few years for her family as the treatment for Leukemia has affected Leo’s nerves which means that some days he can’t walk as he has pain in his feet/legs as well as his hands. The challenge had been increased by his severe anxiety, linked with possible autism.
We interviewed Maisie to find out more about what she does as a Young Carer and wha
t it means to her. Here is what she said:
· What is good about being a Young Carer?
I love helping my mum to look after Leo. Sometimes when he has
a meltdown he only lets me cuddle him and that makes him feel better. It makes me feel proud that I can help him to feel better.
· What are the challenges for you?
It’s hard when Leo has to go into hospital as sometimes he can be there for 4 days and mum stays with him so I miss them both. I also worry a lot about Leo. Leo doesn’t like leaving the house so we can’t have many days out as a family and if we do go out we have to be careful that he doesn’t damage his ‘Peggy’ (Hickman line). It can be hard when I get home from school and Leo just wants to play with me and be with me as I don’t get much time to relax.
· What helps with those challenges?
I know if Leo was unwell or in hospital, our WCD Outreach Worker, Leanne, would phone me to see if I was ok. I like talking to Leanne she’s really nice. I love the young carer groups and activities as it gives me a chance to be myself and do what I want to do and I have made some amazing friends at young carers.
· What would you do for Young Carers if you were First Minister of Wales or the UK Prime Minister?
I would say thank you to young carers as they do so much that people don’t see. I would also have a big party for young carers :)
· What is your key message to other Young Carers and their parents?
It can be hard being a young carer and it can be lonely but you don’t have to do it on your own. Joining young carers was the best thing ever because it makes you realise that you’re not the only young carer and they can give you lots of support. You can have time to yourself
in young carers so it’s not hard all of the time.
· What is your key message to other adults and children who are not Young Carers?
I would tell them to be kind. Sometimes children have things going on at home that you don’t know about.
Proud Mum, Lisa Minors, is so inspired by her own daughter and other Young Carers, she has even become a WCD Young Carers Outreach Worker. She says ‘Maisie is a shining star (as anyone who has ever met her would agree). She is my right arm at home and I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. She has the strongest ever bond with her brother. She is so caring and is the first person to welcome newcomers at the WCD Young Carers group to make sure they are not alone. I’m so, so proud of her and the way she handles anything that comes her way. She has been by even attending hospital visit when his anxiety makes it difficult for him to leave the house.’
Lisa is also incredibly proud of her son Leo who she describes as ‘the strongest boy I know’.
Every Young Carer and every family is different. Young carers do many things that other young people might not usually do, such as:
• Talking to someone who is distressed and helping them communicate.
• Helping get someone out of bed and dressed.
• Collecting prescriptions and giving out medicines.
• Managing the family budget.
• Cooking, housework and shopping.
With support, Young Carers can thrive, but without support, many do not achieve their potential in school and can become isolated. If you want to find out more about local support for just call WCD Young Carers (01597) 823800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find out about all sorts of support as well as opportunities to meet other young carers and have fun. You can also get a Young Carers ID Card.
If you work with children and young people, you may also wish to find out how you can take action to identify and support the Young Carers that you come into contact with. WCD (pronounced Wicked) Young Carers is the local support project in touch with over 1200 Young Carers, hosted by Credu Carers and funded by Wrexham, Conwy and Denbighshire Councils, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Children in Need and The Steve Morgan Foundation.
We can all do something.
- Pop up a Poster – there are lots you can print out on the Carers Trust website.
- Showcase your Story, Poem, Artwork, Blog or Video with Carers Trust by emailing email@example.com
- Think about who is missing out a lot, because they might be a Young Carer for someone at home?
- Reach out for support, if you could do with a bit of help.
- Show your support on social media using #YoungCarersActionDay, whether it be sharing something good or calling for action to fix a problem.