Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be a challenge, but when you have the support of your family and friends, it makes the difference between wanting to fight, and the thought of giving up. For Branka Smiljanic, the support of her 11-year-old-son, Alexander Tanasijevic, is Branka’s reason to fight.
Ms Smiljanic nominated Alexander for the Young People Who Care Awards, and on December 9, Alexander was honoured by winning the Young Carer in the 8-13 year old category.
Ms Smiljanic said Alexander truly deserved to win the award.
“This is the best thing that has happened to me in my 30 years in Australia. I visualised him winning, so it was absolutely awesome when he did but I was so proud, I couldn’t stop crying,” Ms Smiljanic said.
Alexander became the primary carer for his mother at the age of eight, when she was diagnosed with MS. Over the past three years, Alexander has been supporting his mum by doing the household chores and ensuring she takes her medication.
Some of the daily tasks Alexander will do to help his mum include; preparing meals, giving his mother her medication, feeding the dog, cleaning duties and watering the plants, just to name a few.
When asked about his choice to care for his mum, Alexander said, “It’s not bad at all - I really love my mum.”
Not only does Alexander care for his mum, he also spends a great deal of time researching her condition to find any updates in research.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA CEO, Marcus Stafford said it was fitting that Alexander’s efforts and the efforts of other carers were being recognised.
“He really is a very special youngster. There would be very few 11 year olds who are not just capable of being the primary carer for their mum but also happy to do it. His support and love for her is quite amazing,” said Mr Stafford.
“Carers are often the unsung heroes in our society. They’re busy working away in the background, taking care of their family, friends or loved ones, but it’s important that we appreciate the invaluable contribution they make in the community.”
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Honour for remarkable devotion - The West Australian