I became a Young Carer almost 5 years ago when my little sister was born. She was 8 weeks early and had renal kidney failure and underdeveloped lungs. My mum spoke to my sisters and I about possibly joining the local young carers group. I struggled at school with friends and I didn’t want to join another group where I would be alone, but I joined and after meeting a few of the staff I was made to feel incredibly welcome and since then I know that joining was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
When my little sister is not well there’s a lot more to do, my usual plan for the day is just try and help as much as I can, usually since my mum and dad have a lot on their plate. Sometimes it’s difficult, especially when she’s in hospital, everyone needs to step up and take on a few extra roles which can be overwhelming sometimes. On an emotional side it’s more difficult, finding time to speak to my mum if something’s on my mind is hard enough without the added factor of everything my little sister needs, it took me 4 months to pluck up the courage to tell her I was having issues in school because I was worried I was wasting her time.
The OYT Scotland sail was one of the best experiences of my life, the only other boat I had been on was a ferry for 30mins so I was nervous to say the least. I feel quite new in the Young Carers group so there were a lot of people I hadn’t met before, but within a few hours it felt like I had known them my entire life. It’s hard to describe what an experience the sail was as at times – it was so hard, I was tired, grumpy and even seasick. But other times I was having the time of my life, sailing the boat, being out in the fresh air and rain and having such a laugh with everyone on board.
Being friends with other young carers is so much easier than being friends with other people my age, they don’t understand what it’s like to have to go through these things. Sometimes it’s nice to have a break from your caring role but each young carer I have met has turned into a great friendship because no matter what you’re going through, you can bet they’ve gone through it too. Before I joined the Young Carers, I was worried what people were going to think of me and tried to avoid speaking about it as much as possible, but now I’m so proud to be a young carer, it’s a part of who I am. I would recommend anyone to go on the OYT sail if they get the chance as it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.