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Ten-year-old wins Young Carers Award for his devotion to twin brother

A ten-year-old boy from Oranmore has won Connacht Young Carer of the year for going above and beyond in all he does to help mind his twin brother.

Cillian McCarthy has helped saved Fiachra’s life on multiple occasions by taking quick action when he chokes on food, reveals his mum Yvonne Flynn, descending into tears.

“Fiachra has choking episodes where he can’t swallow food properly – he’s choked so many times on us. Cillian’s watched what I do and manages to copy it while he’s roaring for one of us to come and help.”

From birth Cillian has been a lifeline for Fiachra without him even knowing it. Fiachra has Down Syndrome and Autism.

He has encouraged Fiachra to communicate through the Irish sign language Lámh and helps with the morning routine, which can be rather challenging.

“We get up at 7.10am with the choo-choo upstairs and Cillian is the train driver and says all aboard. It’s the only way he’ll get up. He’ll help with the breakfast by playing tag. If he refuses to get on the bus to school I’ll have to get Cillian to pretend to get on as well. I’ll have to use Cillian if I’ve to stick to a timetable.”

Sometimes Fiachra’s reluctance to go on trips means that Cillian has to miss out.

“If Fiachra just decides it’s a no, I’ll have to turn the car back. But Cillian has this amazing understanding. His compassion, how he takes that, how he accepts that, that nature in him – he doesn’t kick up, he’s never once complained. Fiachra idolizes him but can bully him a bit, but Cillian accepts that. Fiachra has to get his way and that’s that.”

Caption: Connacht Young Family Carer of the Year Recipient, Cillian McCarthy from Oranmore, with his twin brother, Fiachra.

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