Goodmayes teenager raises awareness of Barnardo's support for Redbridge young carers
PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 June 2019
A Redbridge teenager is raising awareness of the support available to young carers in the borough in Carers Week, which began yesterday (Monday, June 10), after she was helped by children's charity Barnardo's.
Marisa Olusemo, 15, who lives in Goodmayes, is a young carer to her mother, Jacqueline, who has diabetes.
In recent years the condition has become harder to manage and Marisa was referred to Barnardo's young carer service in Ilford, run in partnership with Redbridge Council, shortly before Christmas in 2018 by her school.
At the time, Marisa was experiencing a lot of mental anxiety due to her caring responsibilities.
Marisa said: "I was having breakdowns at school and there was a moment when I couldn't stop crying. I started seeing a counsellor at school who recommended that I access the young carer service. They could see the amount of help I was providing to my family at home and said it could help.
"My mum uses a wheelchair so I have to help out around the house with everyday tasks which she can't do herself such as going to the toilet. She has Type 2 diabetes and has to take insulin and monitor her blood sugar levels regularly.
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"Last year she had to have her left leg amputated below the knee due to an infection which was made worse because of her diabetes. She's also had several of her toes amputated and has recently been fitted with a prosthetic leg. She is learning to walk again."
Each Tuesday, Marisa is among several young carers to visit Barnardo's young carer service at its wellbeing hub in Ilford.
The hub provides a vital space where young carers can get support and talk through any problems they are experiencing.
Marisa said: "Barnardo's has helped me a lot. Coming to the hub allows me to meet other young carers who have been going through the same thing as me. It makes me feel that I'm not alone.
"Sometimes it can be difficult for other young people to understand what it means to be a young carer if they don't have the knowledge or experience."
Barnardo's chief executive, Javed Khan, said: "All children growing up today face challenges, but it's even harder for young carers, who have to juggle homework and making friends with caring for unwell or disabled family members.
"Young carers are often proud of the support they give their families, but as a society we must make sure this is never at the expense of their education, their wellbeing, or their future."
To find out more about Barnardo's wellbeing hub in Redbridge, call 020 8554 2888.