Thursday 18 January 2018

Selfless teen with arthritis wins carer award for looking after autistic brother

Niamh receiving her award
Niamh receiving her award
Niamh with brother Finn and her parents Liam and Susan
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

A TEENAGER, suffering from arthritis and a rare bone disease, who cares for her autistic brother has been named Young Carer of the Year.

Niamh Duffy (13), from Midleton, Co Cork, helps her parents Liam and Susan to look after her 11-year-old brother Finn, who has little speech or communication skills.

Although she battles her own illnesses, with regular physiotherapy sessions and trips to hospital, she spends hours every day playing with her sibling.

Niamh, honoured by The Carers Association at their eighth annual awards ceremony, told the Irish Independent of her surprise when she learned she had claimed the 2013 title.

"My dad nominated me and when we got the letter about 10 days ago that I'd won, I was really surprised, but also nervous," she said.

"Looking after Finn is just something I've always done, so I don't really think about what it means. We'd take time every evening to play in the garden or something like that, he seems to really like it. We have such a strong bond."

Proud mother Susan said that their family and friends are "absolutely delighted" for Niamh to receive recognition for her unwavering kindness.

The Carer of the Year award was presented to Limerick-based Anne Curtin (70), who provides full-time care for both her husband Michael, who suffered a stroke nine years ago, and son Andrew (29), a paraplegic.

She was one of 15 nominees from around the country to attend the event at The Westin Hotel in Dublin last night.

"I'm overcome with emotion to be honest, it's such a wonderful honour," she said.

Irish Independent

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