Parties and presents will not be at the top of Gemma’s thoughts when she turns 11. As her birthday approaches, she’s more than likely to be thinking about the wellbeing of her younger sister and brother. That’s because Megan, aged eight, is recovering from leukaemia and little Oscar, five, has curvature of the spine, which means he gets hurt and bruises easily.
At home, Gemma is her mum’s rock. She often prepares meals, makes sure her brother is always in a comfortable position, and plays with Megan and Oscar so her mum has the time to do the things she needs to do.
It’s a lot of responsibility for someone so young, which is why Gloucestershire Young Carers is now such an important part of Gemma’s life. Money from Comic Relief gave these young carers the chance to have a break from their duties and have fun like any other children their age, such as crafts, playing games or eating pizza.
Also, the project gives young carers such as Gemma the opportunity to meet and make friends with children who are in a similar situation to themselves, something that Gemma’s mum, Yolanda, thinks is invaluable:
“Since coming here, Gemma has been able to open up to people. She can share her experience, as all children like to do. She even met a child who also had a sister with leukaemia and came home and said, ‘Mum, we are like two peas in a pod.’”
“Since coming here, Gemma has been able to open up to people. She can share her experience, as all children like to do.”