“In 1988, my dad contracted Spanish flu and never recovered. He then developed ME (Chronic fatigue syndrome) and obviously when I was younger it was quite bad. He would lose his balance all the time and we had to move house as he used to drop me down the stairs and he used to fall. He would worry about crushing me, so we moved to a bungalow which helped.

My care started as making cups of tea and bringing him stuff. Now, in the last couple of years, I do his medicine, make food for the whole family and clean. It does vary what I do, it depends how well or unwell he’s feeling. No day is really the same.

“When I was younger, we couldn’t plan ahead because we didn’t know how my dad was going to be so we’ve never left the UK with my family. I hear about other people going abroad and it’s quite upsetting knowing you can’t go away to a different country. We’ve had to cancel holidays at the last minute as he can get ill very suddenly.”

When Katie was 11 she was put in contact with Ceredigion Young Carers in Wales who have been supporting her in her role and taking her on Short Breaks, so she can get some respite and enjoy being a teenager.

“They have been so much help. They’ve taken me to places I wouldn’t have been able to go to with my parents. I’ve met other people like me who understand and who have become my friends. They don’t question you about things if you can’t make it and give you a good time out when you need it. You can talk to them about anything as it’s confidential and they’re available all the time which is incredibly important. The support worker comes in regularly but she’s also available on the phone at any time. She would make the effort to see me at any time if I really needed her."

 

"A lot of people are ashamed of being young carers, don’t tell anybody about it and struggle on without any help. There’s nothing to be ashamed about and there’s help out there.”

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