Lac cares for her brother Andrew, who was born with Down syndrome. Her role as a carer has guided her to a career as an occupational therapist.
Lac: My mum and I are the primary carers for my younger brother Andrew, he was born with Down syndrome. For the first 5 to 6 years of Andrew’s life I had to provide a lot of care to him and also to support my mum.
Anthony (Lac's brother): My dad was working overseas and my mum had to care for the whole family as a collective. Lac kind of stepped in and played, kind of like, a motherly figure.
Lac: I thought that it was my duty as Andrew’s older sister to help look after him, but also step up in the household. Trying to understand the care that will be required for Andrew’s entire life.
Caring for Andrew has impacted my work and the things that I want for my life. There are times that I feel isolated and alone because I don’t feel as though other people understand the same responsibilities that I have. But at the same time Andrew has made us realise how important it is to have empathy for others, and the importance for caring and helping other people.
Lisa (Lac's friend): She has a lot more responsibilities than a lot of people her age, and probably contributed in a large part why she is so compassionate.
Lac: I’ve never taken any official respite, but I do take time out now to spend some time with my friends, sometimes go on holidays.
Lisa: I’ve seen a lot of occasions where Lac has been quite overwhelmed with all of her responsibilities. It’s nice to see her relax a little bit and step away from some of the more serious responsibilities that she has.
Anthony: I think caring for Andrew has influenced Lac’s personality. I’d describe her as caring, compassionate and she just takes things upon herself to make changes.
Lac: It has changed over time. Now Andrew is a lot more independent. To be able to see him do things that we thought weren’t possible gives us a sense of confidence of what he can do in the future. He’s actually guided me into a new career. I’m an occupational therapist because of my experience as a carer, and looking after someone with a disability.
‘I’m an occupational therapist because of my experience as a carer.’
If your brother or sister has disability, chronic illness or mental health issues, find out more about support from Siblings Australia