My name is Riley, I’m 11 and this is my Young Carers story…

When I was 6 years old my mum was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and M.E, it was hard for me and I didn’t really understand cos I was young. My Mum was given crutches and told she can’t do what she used to do; like riding a bike and rock climbing. I also found that I started to get abdominal migraines around the same time – caused by either my iron levels, or anxiety – cos I didn’t understand why mum had crutches I was worrying…

Every year we go to Mallorca, an island by Spain where my grandad and grandma had an apartment. We like to go running in the courtyard, playing football and playing hide and seek. I didn’t really know why Mum wasn’t joining in with these activities on the 1st holiday after she became disabled.

My Dad had explained Mum’s condition to me multiple times and I understood it, but was embarrassed because I felt other people might start picking on me – like “that’s the kid with the disabled Mum”. Thankfully when I told my friends they didn’t laugh – they just helped me when I needed it. It made me feel really relieved that they understood it was hard.

In September I moved up to secondary school and sadly at this time my mum went into hospital. During my first week at school I would cry 4 times a day worrying about my Mum.  She came home for a bit but then had a stroke and had to go back into hospital. 3 weeks ago mum finally came home at last after 3 long months in hospital and rehabilitation.

When my Mum got home I realised I love her even more.  Caring can make you closer to your family and I remember my mum was very proud of me when I got the lead in my year 6 Christmas play. As I sung my solo I saw my mum’s face beam with pride.

Gloucestershire Young Carers have helped me as I always have someone to talk to and help me with my worries. I have had a lot of exciting opportunities through GYC which have enabled me to have a break from responsibilities at home and provide me with a sense of normality….by being a child and having fun. It’s been smooth sailing ever since.