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'Exceptional' boy, 8, who cared for his terminally ill mother given Diana Award in Ilford

PUBLISHED: 17:42 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 07:50 03 July 2017

Kajus and Ingrida Vaivadas

Kajus and Ingrida Vaivadas

Archant

A brave eight-year-old boy who cared for his mother after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness has been given a Diana Award for his selfless actions.

Kajus VaivadasKajus Vaivadas

Kajus Vaivadas was nominated for the award, which is given out to young people who have transformed the lives of others with their actions, by staff from Barnardo’s Indigo Carers Project, in Granville Road, Ilford.

Kajus’s mum, Ingrida, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 shortly after they moved to Forest Gate from Lithuania and the little boy, a pupil at St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Ilford, immediately took on cooking, cleaning and care duties at home whilst still attending school.

Kajus was only five when Ingrida was diagnosed and cared for her until she died in November last year.

Barnardo’s project worker Alison Connolly nominated him for the award and called him “an exceptional boy”.

“It was just the two of them in the house and Kajus did everything he could to help, never complaining that he couldn’t enjoy the things his friends could,” said Alison.

“Kajus is now learning to live without his mum, and his attitude to life is an inspiration to everyone who meets him. He is so cheerful, friendly and helpful, and through the Barnardo’s Young Carers group he offers positive support to many other young children who are experiencing what he has been through.

“Kajus is now living with his father and he continues to support other children who face similar situations in Redbridge by helping out at Barnardo’s fortnightly young carers’ club.”

The director of Barnardo’s in London, Lynn Gradwell, hailed Kajus as an inspiration and said it was fitting for him to receive the award on the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

It feels especially poignant, with Prince Harry and Prince William having spoken out about the emotional impact of losing their mum.”

Whilst Kajus is still getting over his loss he’s enjoying his new responsibilities helping others in similar positions.

“I loved looking after my mum and I really miss her. I just like helping other children like me so they don’t feel that they’re on their own,” he said.

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