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Unsung hero: Teenage carer who looks after his young brother
He is not sure whether he wants to work in theatre or become a PE teacher, but Leonardo Martins is certain of one thing: he loves his little brother.
Leonardo, 14, from New Malden, is one of Kingston’s young carers, a group of children who look after a parent or sibling with special health needs.
He cares for his brother Alexander, who has global development delay and haemophilia, coming home after school to set up his toys or put on a DVD.
Leonardo said: “I dress him, I put him to sleep. I help him sometimes go to the toilet, and I help him have a wash.
“It is sort of a bit difficult if he is telling you to go away. It can be a bit of a dilemma. I don’t mind – just sometimes it can be a bit sad for me.
“I love my brother to bits. I know he has got these problems, but sometimes I feel I don’t get appreciated.
“Other times he is fine. If you make him laugh or read him a story he is fine – or if you give him a kiss.”
Alexander is a huge fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, Leonardo said.
He said: “It has fallen to me because my dad is very busy.
“He is an engineer and he has to go around the country, from north to south.
“My mum has got a back problem so she can’t really pick my brother up or bend over.
“She gets to relax for a bit.”
The Richard Challoner pupil is studying PE, drama, and geography at GCSE. He said: “I’m in a bit of a dilemma because I’m not sure if I should be a PE teacher, or go to a theatre and help produce or be an actor.”
Diane White, young carers’ project co-ordinator, said: “He is a lovely boy and he does a lot for his brother.
“Leonardo is actually brand new to us. He is a real gentleman and he is fitting in with the others.”
Mother Sandra said: “He’s my right arm, to be honest. He has always been very outgoing and extremely helpful.
“Everyone tells me he is polite and very keen to help someone in need.”
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