My name is Aroha. I am 14 and I have been helping support my 2 younger sisters with illness my whole life. I don’t see their illness or disabilities. It wasn’t until i went to school I realised that my life was slightly different to others. My younger sister was born with a rear form of blood cancer, JMML. It was at 18mths, her bone marrow donor she was only 6 months old, hospitals were our play ground, mum didn’t stop us from being able love each other she encouraged it, she never complained about our life and she showed us how to embrace every important moment when we had it. So when she was diagnosed with conditions, mum never cried, she explained the autism, all the different syndromes. She said that these don’t define her, these conditions will never come before her, we support, learn and understand, and love each other through the lows and the glory.
Then my baby sister was born, she too was born with Autism, intellectual impairment, and brain damage. Again no tears. Everything we were told she cant do, as a family we found a way to include her and teach her how. All this was happening while we lived in a DV home and mum, found the strength to re-home us, rebuild us and keep us going. Supporting my family wasn’t a chore it was what you do!! Bathing help, feeding, dressing and cleaning to help between school, work, and lack of sleep due to so many sleepless nights.
This was not even half of what my mum was doing. Mum rewarded me with Netball, Something for me, my first ever social life, I knew financials were an issue. Mum would say, let me worry about money, you worry about catching a ball. It become my passion. Then mum became sick, my rock, my shoulder, my heart was broken, cancer again. We had to take care of her, plus my sisters, plus school, and she wouldn’t let me quit netball. I had to watch her broken, I had to see the one person I loved and cared most falling. If it wasn’t for the support of my Young Carer Bursary, I wouldn’t have been able to keep going with sport and school cost, as well as transport fees. Mum is doing better and I am now playing in A grade Netball. Thank you so much Young Carer Network, without the support we wouldn’t have been able to achieve all the gifts that were provided this year