It’s an undervalued vocation, but without Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers, the lives of countless people would be all the more difficult.
One of those carers is Ellen Holmes. The 23-year-old is a runner-up in The Weekly’s Women of the Future Awards, who plans to use her awarded $10,000 fund to set up networking programs for young carers at children’s hospitals in Sydney and Melbourne.
Caring full-time for her mother and brother – both who suffer from Danon disease, a rare and degenerative condition that affects the heart and muscles – Ellen believes there are gaps in support for young carers within hospitals and schools.
An ambassador for Carers Australia, Ellen was awarded the Young Carer Award at the National Carer Awards ceremony in 2014, and as well as performing all the household duties and providing medical care for her mother and brother, she also supervises her brother’s distance-education schoolwork.
“Caring is something I’ve done ever since I can remember,” Ellen told The Mercury last year.
“I have my moments like anyone, but I am willing to tell my story to help others and be an advocate for other unpaid carers.”
Support National Carers Week and make a free pledge to build a carer friendly Australia