He ain't heavy, he's my brother: Award for caregiving hero, 10

Charmeine Lee Kai En, 10, received an award for being an exemplary sibling to her brother, Bryan Lee Kai Jie, seven.
Charmeine Lee Kai En, 10, received an award for being an exemplary sibling to her brother, Bryan Lee Kai Jie, seven.PHOTO: CLUB RAINBOW

Ten-year-old Charmeine Lee Kai En achieved something special last Saturday: She received an award for being an exemplary sibling to her brother, Bryan Lee Kai Jie, seven.

Bryan, who suffers from cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability, has difficulty feeding himself and communicating - so Charmeine volunteers to babysit him when her parents are at work.

"I play with him and if my parents are out, I take care of him and watch him when he's playing with his soft toys and watching TV. He likes music and I like music too," said Charmeine, who is a pupil at Hong Wen School.

She added that she learnt over time that her brother is strong and very brave, in spite of his disability.

"I want my brother to be like me next time, so we can go out together, eat, and not worry about him," she said.

Charmeine was among eight caregivers and two siblings of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses recognised last Saturday for their hard work, conviction and resourcefulness.

The 10 received awards from local charity Club Rainbow at an event held at Singapore Zoo to celebrate the daily heroic acts of compassion that these parents and siblings perform.

The event, with the theme Celebrating Heroes, was the fifth edition of the awards ceremony held by Club Rainbow, a local charity that supports children with chronic and life-threatening diseases. It witnessed the most recipients since it was inaugurated.

"The award is dedicated to these caregiving heroes who inspire others to be resilient in the face of challenges," said Dr Sashikumar Ganapathy, president of Club Rainbow. "Most importantly, we want our caregivers to know that they are not alone in their journey and we will be there to support them along the way."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2019, with the headline 'He ain't heavy, he's my brother: Award for caregiving hero, 10'. Subscribe