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Schoolboy raises awareness of life as a carer for brother

By Harriet Evans | Burntwood | Health | Published:

A young carer from Staffordshire has spoken out about his experience helping his family to care for his brother.

Brothers Alex and Daniel Ball from Burntwood

Alex Ball, aged 11 from Burntwood, is the younger brother to Daniel who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and wasting.

The condition almost always affects boys, who tend to be diagnosed before the age of five, and there are around 2,500 patients in the UK.

Daniel is a full-time wheelchair user and is now losing upper body strength. He is reliant on his family for personal care and has one-to-one assistance at school.

Alex, said: "I've always helped around the house and I've always helped Dan, even if it's only getting him a drink. I fetch things for him because he can't do it himself.

"I don't think anyone really understands the life of a sibling with a brother or sister with a disability.

Brothers Alex and Daniel Ball

"If they had a sibling that suffers as Dan does then they might feel like me, worn out at the end of the day after school and then helping to look after Dan.

"I still get to play with my friends when I'm doing nothing else and I've never missed a sleepover or a party because I had to look after Dan. It does feel nice to get out of the house once in a while though."

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Recently, Daniel was given a new lease of life by children's charity, Variety, who funded Daniel's Strikeforce Powerchair which he received in August 2018, which allows him to play sports with his friends.

Alex and Daniel's mother, Samantha, said: "Alex is a fabulous younger brother he always tries to help out Dan and us.

"Living with a brother that has additional needs is very difficult, it's a different dynamic to usual brother relationships.

"Alex has always taken into account Daniel's needs and difficulties when they spend time together. They are very close and as a result Alex is growing into a wonderful, caring, nurturing and compassionate young man.

"We are so proud of both our boys."

Harriet Evans

By Harriet Evans
Community Reporter - @HarrietEvans_ES

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, covering the issues affecting young people across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Contact me at harriet.evans@expressandstar.co.uk

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