'William is my rock' - Mother of Ipswich young carer praises son after contest win
PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:33 16 December 2017
Meet William - the remarkable seven-year-old rugby player from Ipswich who acts as a young carer for his mother.
When Tina Wright was 37 weeks pregnant with the youngster, she began feeling unwell and was admitted to Ipswich Hospital.
She was shocked when medics told her she had suffered a stroke – and relieved when William was born healthy the following week.
Now seven, the St Margaret’s Primary School pupil acts as her carer – calling ambulances, as Tina is prone to mini strokes, and making sure she does not walk into anyone, as the stroke made her partially blind.
Recently, he has turned his hand to fundraising to help others like his mother.
This week, he scooped first prize in the Christmas model of the year competition hosted by the Kerri Parker Academy in Norwich, raising cash for brain injury and brain tumour research.
Proud mother Tina said: “William is my rock, he is a remarkable, incredible little boy.
“He’s called ambulances, phoned his grandma and he knows what medication I take and even knows the levels my INR – my international normalized ratio – should be.
“When I’m out and about as well he walks on my blind side, making sure I don’t walk into anyone or into the road.
“When I’m at the doctors or in the ambulance he’s able to tell paramedics what medication I should take.
“I’m so proud of him for everything he does, and it was lovely to see him win and have his moment in the spotlight.”
The 28-year-old added: “It was terrifying having a stroke when I was 37 weeks pregnant.
“I remember being at the hospital and panicking that my baby was not going to be okay, I was shocked when they told me I had a stroke.
“William was born by caesarean section the following week and was fine, but I became partially blind and have suffered a couple of mini strokes since.
“I’ve also got a blood clot disorder which can sometimes make me really ill.
“But William is brilliant, he knows exactly how to respond.”
Maria Torres-Lopez, Tina’s goddaughter, is a fellow young carer – she also took part in the contest.
Her mother Ariana suffers with fibromyalgia and arthritis, and the 11-year-old helps her with day-to-day activities.
Tina added: “She was a real star.
“She’s a real rock for her mum too, we’re lucky to have such great and understanding kids.”
Young carers and how they are supported in Suffolk
Children similar to William and Maria are supported by organisations such as Suffolk Family Carers.
Last year the charity, based in Claydon, extended their young carer support service to cover young people aged from five to 25.
Most of the work they carry out is in schools, where children spend the majority of their time.
Project manager Emily Meadows said: “By visiting schools we are able to have one to one sessions with younger children.
“One of the main issues we consider with the youngest of children is separation anxiety.
“They often worry a lot about not being with their mum or dad or whoever they care for.
“We also run short respite sessions which allow young people to have some time and space away from the person they care for.
“We also work to build self confidence and self esteem.”
To discover more about services offered by Suffolk Family Carers, visit their website.