Sitting down in the Ryan’s kitchen in Portlaoise, 10-year-old Sean reveals just how he managed to become Leinster Carer of the Year.
“I look after my brother who has Cerebral Palsy,” explained Sean. Sean’s twin brother Liam has severe Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user as a result.
Sean helps to look after Liam, along with mum Niamh and dad Gerry, and his love and support for his brother is so immense that Sean was given the title of Leinster Carer of the Year last week.
Sean told us about how he helps look after his twin brother. “I help keep him happy, I help with his feeds and his nebuliser.” Liam’s nebuliser administers medication in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs.
Sean gets clean bibs for Liam, holds his hand when he’s upset and looks out for when the nebuliser is finished administrating medication.
The bond between these two brothers is one of the first things you notice walking into the Ryan household. “Liam is one of my friends. I love him very much,” said Sean.
Mum Niamh explains just how close the two boys are. “When Sean comes into a room Liam just lights up.
“Sean always looks out for Liam. The first thing he does in the morning is go in and say hello to Liam.
“When he comes in from school, the first thing he does is give Liam a hug. He’s just very kind and considerate towards him.
“When Liam gets into distress, Sean will run over to him and start comforting him and calm him down, and help get his breathing back again.”
As well as helping to care for Liam at home, Sean also sets an admirable example in educating people about Cerebral Palsy and raising funds for the LauraLynn foundation – which the Ryans are a part of.
“He’s very tuned in to what Liam needs, he’s very kind towards him and helps his friends understand Liam’s condition,” said Niamh.
“When his friends first come into the house, it’s all very new to them, and Sean’s very good for explaining things to them, and then after a while they come over and they pay no heed!”
“They’ve learnt to be very accepting of the differences as well,” Niamh added.
Sean has also helped to organise coffee mornings for the LauraLynn foundation and the Ryan boys donated €100 of their Communion money to the children’s hospice.
For the Ryans, the hospice in Leopardstown, south Dublin, is the only place they can go now for an overnight stay and Niamh praised their support immensely.
More recently, Sean raised €675 for the LauraLynn organisation to say thanks for helping his family.
This isn’t the first time Liam and Sean have shone in the spotlight either.
Last year the Ryan family received an astounding Oscar from LauraLynn for their amazing film, ‘Honey I Shrunk Darth Vader’.
Both Liam, who attends Kolbe Special School and Sean, who goes to Holy Family NS, love Star Wars, Ghostbusters and ET – and so the idea for the family was born.
‘Honey I Shrunk Darth Vader’ is about when ET arrived in Laois and there is only one family that can help him return home – but the dark side has other plans.
The Ryans must help ET return home and have a huge task ahead of them. But as these two brothers have shown – they can do anything, especially when they do it together.