(Fictional Profile)

Name: Kit (Katherine) Ryan

Age: 16

Book Title, Author, Publisher & Year of Publication: Baygirl by Heather Smith, published by Orca Book Publishers in 2013

How long have you been a Young Carer? I grew up as the daughter of an alcoholic father, so it is something that has always been a part of my life.

Who do you care for and how? When my Nan got pneumonia I moved in with her and my father and ended up taking care of both of them. Mainly though it’s about taking care of myself. I learned quickly I had to be my own advocate and find support outside my parents.

How has being a Young Carer affected your life? I am a naturally caring person who isn’t afraid to stand up for myself. Sometimes I feel frustrated when people tell me I shouldn’t provoke my father or confront him about his drinking, but after years of learning to walk on eggshells around his different drunken states I can’t seem to help it.

I’ve been lucky to have outside support; my Nan has played a big role in my life as have Ms. Bartlett, Mr. Adams and my Uncle Iggy. Their care and acknowledgement of the difficult situation I live with on a daily basis have helped me cope and to realise my needs are important too. With their encouragement and support I was eventually able to see my father as a person who had demons of his own, but that knowledge did not magically erase years of pain and resentment that had already built up.

What is your favourite activity? I’ve recently discovered a flair for writing. I’m in a writing club, but I’ve also used my skills to describe what living with my father is really like and to capture my neighbour’s true nature.