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Last Updated: Friday September 09 2005 09:21 GMT

I help care for my older brother

Helping to tie shoelaces

Cassy, 12, helps care for her older brother who has muscular dystrophy.

Looking after her brother means that Cassy sometimes misses school and has a lot more responsibility than friends her age.

She told Newsround what's involved in being a young carer and how meeting up with other young carers helps her chill out.

"I have been helping to look after my brother for about four years.

He uses a wheelchair because he has a disease called muscular dystrophy which makes his muscles waste away.

Helping him out

I help him out with everyday things - I get his drinks and cut up his food.

I also help out with lifting and picking him up.

He's getting older so it's getting harder. I'm 12 and he's 15 so he's bigger than me.

When we go out, or on holiday, I automatically look out for ramps so that my brother can get around. It's something I do without thinking now.

Spending time together

We both go to the same school, he's two years above me.

We get on well and I spend a lot of time with him.

We play on our Xbox loads - mainly Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Missing school

I sometimes miss out on school when my brother has to go to physiotherapy.

Because my mum has to be with him, there's no one to pick me up.

If something happens to my brother in the morning I am sometimes late for school as well. We get behind and leave for school later than we should.

It can be quite stressful arriving at school late.

Young Carers Project

I go to a group called Young Carers. It's a group for young people who all help look after someone in their family.

It's held at a local youth centre near me and I've been going for about three years.

Quite a few of us who are young carers go to hang out there.

We chill out together and head to the park or cinema.

It's a good group to go to because it gets you out of the house.

It really helps me to chill out."

Cassy, 12, Gloucester


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