A teenage carer has been hailed a “second mum” for the support she gives to her younger brother.
Since the age of four, Grace Lynch, who lives in Orrell, has played an active role in caring for 13-year-old Reece.
He was born with kidney failure, has an incurable brain disorder, suffers up to 11 epileptic seizures a day and has other health issues.
Grace, 17, has her own health problems, after being diagnosed with a chronic, allergic inflammatory disease of the oesophagus, known as eosinophilic esophagitis,.
She is on a liquid diet and is unable to eat a number of foods, such as those with nuts, gluten, wheat and dairy.
Their mum Carole said: “Reece was born with kidney failure and within six to eight weeks it became end stage.
“He was on a dialysis machine until he was three-and-a-half at which point I gave Reece one of my kidneys.
“Unfortunately just after the transplant there were complications and Reece sustained a brain injury and was left with epilepsy.
“We hoped surgery would correct it but when he had his last MRI scan he was diagnosed with hippocampal sclerosis. There is no cure and he is now on palliative care.”
She added: “Grace was only young when Reece was born. She didn’t know little babies came home because Reece was in Alder Hey so much early on.
“When we eventually came home she took it upon herself to become a second mum.
“She used to get medication and feeds for him, and lift up the dialysis stuff. If I was ever stuck she would go and get something for me.
“Reece used to vomit a lot and she would be first there with the sick bowl. She’s been a superstar.”
Grace, a former pupil at Standish High School, got involved with Wigan And Leigh Young Carers, which helped her to regain her confidence and make friends through respite trips and after-school activities.
Now she has thanked Leigh firm Astley Hire for giving £500 to Wigan And Leigh Carers. Grace said: “I know first-hand what the charity does and how it helps give children a childhood they might miss out on.
“It has changed me as a person. I’m more confident and I don’t feel alone.
“I missed out on going out with friends but the charity helped me rebuild what I lost.
“I love Reece to pieces and wouldn’t change anything. He can be hard work like any little brother!”
With Reece’s seizures becoming more severe, Carole launched an appeal to raise £2,000 to adapt her front room for his therapy and sleeping needs.
Astley Hire’s managing director Stephen Dorricott has also donated to this.
Carole said: “His epilepsy is so severe now that he’s not allowed to go upstairs in case he fits behind one of the doors and I can’t get to him. The most he’s had in 24 hours was 16.
“I’ve had the house assessed and I need to turn the living room into a bedroom for him.”
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