Meet young carer Jessica. She’s seven and lives with her mum, Angelika and dad, Steve.
“Angelika has severe epilepsy and has up to 30 seizures a day, ranging from momentary lapses in consciousness to full-blown, life-threatening attacks. ‘With the big ones, I can really hurt myself,’ Angelika says.
‘In the past, Jessica has witnessed me falling into glass, for example. I might damage my fingernails, bending them back, or bang my head or arms. There is no way of knowing when I will have one, or what impact it will have.”
-Daily Mail 2019*
Jessica is one of the amazing young carers we support at Honeypot.
This April, Jessica (pictured below) came on a repeat respite break at Honeypot Pen y Bryn in Wales.
She was excited to tell her parents about her holiday!
“I loved going to Honeypot & the best bit was making new friends & getting lots of hugs from the adults there. My best friend was Meme & we had loads of fun.
We had so much fun & I got to go on a pogo stick which I’ve never done before.
We had the greatest game ever where we made a Wolf den & trapped Dux (Honeypot’s Senior Team Leader). It made me so happy!
He always made me laugh & smile. We even did a fish game with him which was so much fun.
You won’t believe it but when I was told we had to go back home I actually felt tears in my eyes… but don’t worry as I was missing you & daddy too so was glad to see you, but I just didn’t want to stop having so much fun & saying goodbye to all my friends.”
Mum, Angelika, told us the difference the break at Honeypot made for Jessica:
“She came back so happy, with lots of excitement and so much to tell me. Getting information from her about what she has done in a day is normally like getting blood out of a stone! This time she spent so much time telling me about the fun she had had.
She can find it sometimes quite difficult to get talking to people & making friends… but once she does she loves spending time with them. This was obviously the case as from the minute she saw the Honeypot van from the window her eyes shone & she jumped in. I didn’t even get a wave from the window as she was already getting involved and making friends (sad in a way for me but absolutely amazing to see & it made me extremely happy to see).
She not only told me that she had loved making friends with the other kids but with the adults who help out there too. She had so much fun with everyone!
Jessica is a very strong and responsible little girl.
Jessica knows what to do when Angelika has a seizure; ‘It’s still scary for her sometimes — we’ve had situations where she will curl up in the corner and just cry while it is going on — but she also knows what to expect and she knows to run next door to get a neighbour, and to call her dad.
Jessica also takes on daily duties far beyond the norm for a seven-year-old. After a big seizure, Angelika will suffer massive exhaustion, to the point where normal life becomes untenable.
‘Jessica knows that when this happens, I just need to sleep, and she’s brilliant at taking herself off with a book.’
-Daily Mail 2019*
At Honeypot we think young carers, like Jessica, are totally deserving of a break.
“It is absolutely obvious she had a whale of a time and she immediately started asking “when can I go back there again?”
Thank you for giving her such a wonderful, much deserved break away from the stresses and strains that she sometimes has to deal with. She has loved every minute.”