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Keah Donlon

In the face of adversity, Keah, a 19-year-old Care and Support Assistant, is truly phenomenal.

Care and Support Assistant Keah

When she isn’t looking after her mum at home, she’s either studying at college to become a nurse, working part time at Sanctuary Supported Living’s Shaftesbury Court in Trowbridge, or helping other young carers in her area.

Keah had always helped care for her dad who had long-term illness, but in 2019 her mum was admitted to hospital with a brainstem bleed. In tragic circumstances, whilst Keah’s mum was in the Intensive Care Unit, Keah’s dad passed away. Since then, from the age of just 17 Keah has been a full-time carer.

She said: “When I weigh up my responsibilities, there is a lot going on. I help mum with her personal care, and jobs around the house like cooking and cleaning. However, nothing has stopped me from pursuing my dreams. I’m studying for a Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care at college, and I have a part time job that I love.”

Keah applied for a Bank Care and Support Assistant position at Shaftesbury Court in 2021 so she could use her knowledge and practical skills to help others with support needs. Shaftesbury Court is a residential care home where adults aged 18 to 65, who have a range of learning disabilities and physical disabilities are supported around their own home to live as independently as possible.

She added: “Helping my mum recover from her stroke gave me the courage to apply for a job in adult social care, and I’m proud to be making a difference in peoples’ lives. I make people smile, and that makes me smile. And although my responsibilities at work are like my responsibilities at home, it’s nice to get out of the house, and to see my colleagues. We’re a great team at Shaftesbury Court.”

Helping my mum recover from her stroke gave me the courage to apply for a job in adult social care, and I’m proud to be making a difference in peoples’ lives.

Keah, Care and Support Assistant

Keah also volunteers on her local Young Carers council. She said: “I’m very keen to help other young carers, as there are so many out there. And lots of them are younger than me! I raise awareness about the issues that young carers face and what my life is like being a carer, so that others know they’re not alone.”

Each year, Radio 1 celebrates Teen Heroes – young people who make the world a better place – and Keah was surprised with the award at the end of last year for her incredible perseverance in tragic circumstances.

To find out more about Sanctuary Supported Living’s accommodation, care and support services for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and autism, see our latest news, read resident stories, or find out if a career in social care could be right for you.

You can also download Keah's staff story (PDF 144KB).

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