08 Dec 2021

Sibling of the year award for Derry student Emma

Sibling of the year award for Derry student Emma

Derry student, Emma McCaughey with her brother John. Emma is a carer for John who has complex needs.

A Derry student has won a national award from disability charity 'Sense' for the support she provides to her brother with complex needs.

Emma McCaughey, 18, who is also from the Rosemount area of Derry, is the joint winner of the 2021 ‘Young Sibling of the Year’ award in recognition of the selfless support she provides to her brother John, while also studying for her A-Levels last year where she got three A grades at Thornhill College and hopes to study radiology at university next year.

Complex Needs is a condition where someone has two or more needs affecting their physical, mental, social or financial wellbeing.

Such needs typically interact with and exacerbate one another leading to individuals experiencing several problems simultaneously.

As a result, Emma's brother John needs constant round the clock care.

The pandemic has been particularly challenging for Emma and her family with John being hospitalised several times.

During each hospital stay Emma would stay by John’s side while also studying for her exams.

Emma is always there for John and even cancelled her A-level celebration when John had a seizure on the day she received her results.

For the past 10 years she has also attended local Sense event where she is always on hand to help with young siblings from other families too.

Emma said: “I'd like to thank Sense so much for this award. It means so much to be to be recognised for something I do in my daily life, being John’s big sister.

Eighteen-year-old Emma McCaughey of Derry who has won "Young Sibling Of The Year 2021" by the charity, Sense

“I also know many other siblings who work so hard and support their families. I’m so privileged to have won this award.

“Sense has helped us throughout most of John’s life. They’re always running charity fun days where you always meet new people, and it’s so nice to be recognised by them.”

Sense Chief Executive, Richard Kramer, added: “We’re delighted to have Emma as our joint winner for the 2021 ‘Young Sibling of the Year’ award.

“Emma provides incredible support to John, always putting him first, and it’s incredible to see the bond they have as siblings.

“It’s fantastic to be able to recognise Emma in this way.”

The Sense Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people with complex disabilities, as well as the staff, carers, family members, volunteers and fundraisers who support them.

For more information about the Sense Awards visit:

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