Hannah is just like any other 18 year old girl. She enjoys shopping, spending time with her friends, trying out new make-up and playing sport. However, unlike her friends Hannah has the responsibility of being a carer for her mother, Karen.
Karen suffers from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which sometimes means that she needs to be admitted to hospital.
While Karen is in hospital, Hannah looks after the running of the house while also giving support to her mum. She also assists her mother in reminding her about her medication and helping her to maintain a scheduled lifestyle.
A year 12 student, Hannah has aspirations of joining the Navy or Australian Federal Police (AFP) once she finishes her schooling.
“The biggest difficulty I find with my friends is that they don’t understand what it’s like and they aren’t mature enough to grasp the heaviness of the situation,” Hannah said.
Asked what she thought was the most important support Carers ACT has provided her, Hannah quickly answers, “the camps”. Carers ACT often run a young carer retreat assisting the young carers in getting some time away.
“With my life being different from my friends I really enjoyed going to camp and meeting like-minded people who get what I’m going through.”
And Karen is no stranger to being a carer herself.
“When Hannah was just two years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a tough road we travelled and for years I had to watch my daughter experience painful treatment.”
Some recent test results unfortunately indicated that Hannah might be facing these battles again.
“Hannah has a very rare type of cancer and also a rare bone marrow make-up,” Karen said while smiling at Hannah.
“We’ve got each other and we stay strong and get each other through the day,” Hannah concludes.