Katie Bladon’s story of courage and determination speaks volumes about her strenuous efforts within the local community. Listening to her story made it clear that she should be awarded the third UVA Local Hero Award.
Katie has been a part of Carers Trust Solihull for almost ten years now since she is the primary caretaker of her parents and younger brother since 2012. This is not uncommon in the United Kingdom as 1 in 5 young people look after, or help look after, someone with a disability, illness or dependency.
Katie’s mother suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness in the body, which can enable sleep problems, fatigue and inhibition of regular daily activities. Katie’s father has PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which was caused after a devastating event occurred in his life leading to heightened anxiety and dramatic changes in moods and thinking. Her younger brother has autism, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour.
As she has been taking care of her family in addition to developing her personal life, Katie has been challenged daily leading to high amounts of stress and pressure.
However, despite this, she has once again outdone herself by winning the High Sheriff’s Award, which consisted of a bursary. Katie used the money to start a book donation scheme to help other young carers like herself who might be struggling with literacy and social skills. If you want to read more about Katie’s story, you can do so here.