I love sports

My name is Ava, I am 15 years old and live in New South Wales. One unique thing about me is that I love lots of sports, including basketball, netball and sailing. I also love scouts and camping.

I have been caring for my brother for 9 years. My brother requires care because he has cerebral palsy, a visual impairment and epilepsy. Combining his needs means  24/7 care. He goes to the same mainstream school, but is in a special-needs class with other kids with similar disabilities.

My responsibilities include simple things such as dressing him in the morning if my mum is unable to, looking after him after school, helping him with his homework and helping him in the bathroom. However, I also have to do a first-aid course every 4 years so that I know what I have to do if he has a fit or something else happens to him. Just like me I’d imagine other young carers would also have to help with day to day tasks that we take for granted such as dressing ourselves and bathing ourselves.

On a good day when I am looking after my brother he is listens, is kind and helpful. But on bad days he is disrespectful, angry and can be a little bit aggressive. Because of my role I am unable to hang out with my friends as much.  My brother always needs someone to be with him.  He is unable to do things like walking long distances.

Being a carer has changed my life because I am more responsible and I know how to deal with situations that other people my age don’t know deal with. I would cope better with my caring role if a break every now and then to go away for a weekend with my family or even just a day trip. Being away from my brother makes me feel anxious because I don’t always know that the person taking care of him knows how to deal with certain situations.

I have to care for my brother because it is the right thing to do. I have grown up caring for him and I know him better than anyone else does. Being a carer has taught me to be strong and patient when things don’t go my way or life throw something unexpected in the way and I have to deal with it. I would like others to realise that they are capable to do more things than they think they can. My piece of advice to my fellow young carers is be strong and don’t give up on yourself or the person you are caring for.

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