Blog Post 2016

A son, a brother and a young caregiver: Andrew shares his experience at 18

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By VHA
Heart of Home Care nominee, Andrew Fuller

We received many nominations for the Heart of Home Care award that touched our heart and so we continue sharing these amazing, inspiring stories.

At 18, life is inundated with commitments to friends, playing video games and keeping up with the latest social media platform. For most teens, the idea of being a caregiver is the last thought on their mind. But when Andrew Fuller’s mom, Cindy, fell during an accident and hurt her back so severely she couldn’t go back to work, that’s exactly what Andrew did–putting his own personal aspirations and dreams on hold. Caring for someone you love doesn’t stop at administering meds—it includes house work, daily chores, and at times, being a motivational life coach!

“Cheering me up, when I’m down or on my last straw is Andrew’s best trait,” says Cindy. On days when she didn’t feel like herself, he’d make her a snack, give her a hug and put on her favourite movie to watch together. His kindness and ability to provide emotionally for others show maturity beyond his years.

Andrew also helps his younger brother—who has been dealing with mental health challenges– cope. He works to make up for lost income, volunteers to shovel his 90-year old neighbour’s driveway and fundraises for the Salvation Army.

His coping mechanism is “taking one day at a time and to break it down, sometimes everything happens together, so you just need take a step back and not worry.” Andrew’s advice to young caregivers is to “not isolate yourself and stay connected with your friends as much as possible…it’s one of the most important ways to ensure that you don’t feel lonely.”

Andrew’s unconditional compassion for his family and friends deserves a standing ovation. His life sets an example for a lot of us struggling with much smaller hurdles.