Final nominations for Rotary Club of Senlac’s Young Covid Hero of the Year
The last nominations for the Rotary Club of Senlac’s Young Covid Hero of the Year have been sent in.
Colin Goldsack of the club said, ”I’ve been totally humbled by the nominations I have read. There is a whole army of young carers out there who willing give up their own childhood to care for someone they love and yet they go unrecognised outside of their families; some of them are so young, too. They make a massive difference to their families and to the community “. The nominations are now being considered by the judges and results should be announced later this month. All the nominations are published on the club’s website www,senlacrotary.org.
Ryan, aged 14, lives in Bexhill and was nominated by his father
Ryan, although suffering from mild autism, plays a big part in helping his neighbours and his family. Outside his immediate family he helps out his grandmother, daily walks a neighbour’s dog and helps other neighbours as needed. His mother has an illness that stops her being active and his father has joint problems which restrict his mobility. But Ryan is there to help as necessary.
A year ago Ryan’s elder sister had a massive seizure which caused her to stop breathing; Ryan dealt with it all calmly making her comfortable, sorting the medication and other things she needed to take to hospital while waiting for the ambulance he had called. He had never been shown what to do but acted on instinct and initiative. Without his help his sister may not have survived. Since then Ryan has taken it upon himself to find out about his sister’s illness, how to give her medication and tell the teachers at their school how to treat her. He is now her official carer. When Ryan’s father is at work he is indispensable to his mother and was very supportive to her and his grandmother when his aunt died earlier this year. His father said, “For us as a family he is our star. If anyone deserves recognition for how amazing he is, then it is Ryan,” and signs himself “A proud father”.
Julia, aged 8, is from Hastings and is nominated by her mother
Julia’s story is not just one of caring for her 6 year old brother but also one of sacrifice of a normal childhood. Her brother, nearly as big as she is, is severely nonverbal and many things upset him. Julia does not watch TV or other digital devices, use crayons or colouring materials or eat treats, except when he is in bed late at night, because all of these cause extreme stress to him. He cannot manage playgrounds or pools so she doesn’t take part. Because of his size Julia cannot physically help him much or stop him when he hits out but she will still try to calm him even though her mother tells her not to. She doesn’t complain if he hurts her because, “He is my little old brother and he needs me.” Julia is very patient with him and has taught him to take off his socks and slippers and helped him overcome his fear of water. Julia loves to read, one of the few things she can do without disturbing him; she’s passed this to her brother who, although he can’t read, now likes books so much but can turn page by page and look.
Julia’s mother says of her, “She has given up absolutely everything for him and this really breaks my heart. but she is still doing this fully hearted and she loves him so much. Bless her, she is amazing with him and with everybody even though she has her own emotional challenges but she is doing her best to support him and me as well. Since lost her dad I am the only support for her and she is trying to cope but with the lock down things are even harder as she has to stay home all time with my son around and no school, no friends she can meet so it was intense and scary sometimes but still she is all around him full of love care and support.”
Harrison, aged 11, and Ben, aged 9, are brothers from Staplecross and were nominated by their mother
Harrison and Ben’s mother, a single mother, was in work when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour which was surgically removed when she was 12 weeks pregnant with Harrison. Sadly, a nerve was damaged which left her with severe headaches, depression and other problems such that she was medically retired from her job. Subsequently, she developed osteoarthritis in both knees which worsened her depression and caused her severe anxiety problems.
From an early age the boys have always understood their mother’s problems and appreciated why their mother couldn’t always do what other mothers did. When their mother had debilitating headaches they would be helpful, patient and comfort her while she was incapacitated for a day or two each week; the headaches continue even after ten years. Recently her parents moved locally to give her support but Covid overtook that support. Her first thoughts were, “How an earth am I going to cope with being locked in the house with my children for the coming weeks!” and the stress and depression increased. After explaining the circumstances to the boys that their grandparents wouldn’t be able to help, they came up with ideas on how to manage the situation. They take the dog for walks, make lunch and do many other domestic chores; they also decided they would give their mother two hours of uninterrupted time every day and go off and play games, keep themselves very quiet on their mother’s bad days and provide her with everything she needed.
Summing up, Mum said, “I am mum to two of the most caring, funny and polite boys you will ever meet. For the past 11 years my children have been my support team, my carers, my comedy duo and the reason I get out of bed every day. Above all of this they gave me a reason to keep getting up every day and not sink into a deep pit of depression. They kept me laughing, kept me busy and kept me sane. I thank my boys regularly for being so caring and always helping me, but I would love for them to know just how grateful and proud I am of the fine young men they are”.
Bailey, aged 15, lives in St Leonards and was nominated by his mother
Bailey lives with and cares for his mother who is disabled and has several debilitating conditions which cause her pain and restrict her mobility. Since lockdown he has taken on more of her caring roles, helping with shopping, cooking meals, making drinks, mowing the lawns, doing the washing, doing the housework, looking after the animals and general household chores. Bailey demonstrated his maturity when his mother was suffering from what was thought to be a stroke, but this turned out to be temporary paralysis episodes. He called for an ambulance talking through what was wrong, describing symptoms, what medication she takes, all while waiting for the ambulance staff to turn up to take her to hospital. Bailey has also looked out for his grandparents, who live down the road from us, helping them with their shopping, general housework and their gardening, as well as checking in on them to make sure they are both ok.
Bailey has done all of this without a grumble or asking for anything. He has not asked to go out with his friends when the lockdown was easing because he didn’t want to bring anything back to either his mother or his grandparents as he knows they are high risk. Bailey himself is not without medical problems; he has mental health issues as well as other chronic conditions including asthma.
His mother says of him, “Bailey has shown real maturity for his age through this pandemic and has shown exceptional care and attention to both myself and my parents. I am so proud of what Bailey has done and keeps doing for both me and his grandparents and I don’t know where we would be without him, especially as I have recently been diagnosed with more medical problems. He really does have a heart of gold and has been an incredible support to us”.
Terri-lou, aged 13, lives in Etchingham and was nominated by her mother
Terri-Lou is a carer for her mother who has a number of physical problems affecting her ability to stand, bend and hear. These conditions not only affect her balance causing her to have regular falls but also have led to her mother having mental health problems. Terri-lou takes change and oversees her medication, right pills at the right time, helps her with personal chores, cooks dinner every day, helps the others with house work, looks after the pets and helps the rest of the household is aware that other members of the household may need help too. Terri-lou is also her mother’s ears when her mother is unable to wear her hearing aids. During the pandemic Terri-lou has felt the stress and struggled somewhat in balancing her caring needs and her school work but has coped exceptionally well.
Her mother says,” Terri-lou should be selected for the Senlac Rotary Community award because of the outstanding effort she has put into both caring for a disabled parent and the effort and hardworking abilities she has put into her schoolwork.”
Maisie, aged 12, lives in Bexhill and was nominated by her mother
Maisie, a member of a single parent family, is carer to her twin brother who has spina bifida and autism. Her mother also has mental health episodes and at these times Maisie comes to the fore again, making tea, cooking meals and cleaning, But all the while she is still caring for her brother. At school she looks out for him making sure he is coping and not being antagonised. She has stayed positive and upbeat throughout lockdown, even though she had her own anxieties, and helped her brother with his school work encouraging him and praising him for his efforts. If, at night when her brother wakes in pain, as he does quite often, Maisie’s sleep is disturbed she will not settle until he goes back to sleep. She always puts him first and foremost.
It’s not just her brother she puts first; she also puts others including her school peers first too, even if it is going to cause her some problems. At the beginning of lockdown Maisie knocked on some of their elderly neighbours’ doors and gave them boxes of chocolates to “Keep them smiling”. Maisie and her family keep in touch with the rest of family by Zoom and she has helped write quizzes to keep them all entertained.
Maisie’s mum says of her, “Maisie is my rock, she doesn’t know how special she is. She will always think of things to do to uplift everyone around her but does forget about herself a lot of the time. She doesn’t think she does anything ‘special’ as she just gets on with it without any complaining. For her to be recognised for this award would be amazing and give her the recognition she truly deserves. It would give her a huge boost that although she wouldn’t admit it would do her the world of good.”
Simeon (Sim), aged 13, lives in Bexhill and was nominated by his father
Some three years ago Sim’s relationship with his mother broke down and arrangements were made for him to move in with his father with whom he normally stayed at weekends, holidays and other times. Sim became the carer for his father who, in 2004, suffered a major road traffic accident which caused injuries that still have a severe effect on him. As a consequence he has spinal injuries which cause mobility problems, a damaged memory and continuing pain which in turn give rise to mental health problems; his condition will worsen over time. Because his father is very limited in what he can do, Sim does many of the household chores such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening and walking the dog,
Sim’s father says of him, “It’s been a tough few years for us both. I rely on Sim to the extent he is more like a father than I am, I’m more like an aged grandad than a dad. He’s always so cheerful and full of life. I don’t know how he remains so upbeat when his home life is far from upbeat.”