South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), September 19, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Byline: by Sasha Mansworth

Today sees the relaunch of Carers Wales.

Could you look after someone who is chronically ill, disabled or frail? At some point in our lives, three in five of us will.

JUGGLING a career with being a full-time single mum would be more than a handful for most of us. But when your youngest son is suffering from a rare wasting disorder and diabetes then the added burden of being a full-time carer is also thrown into the mix.

In 1995, Anita Bradbury's son Cory, then aged four, was diagnosed with Langahans Cell Histiositocis - a rare but not life-threatening bonewasting disorder.

In the hope of improving his condition, Cory was treated with a course of chemotherapy. But when he was eight years old, the family suffered a double blow as the youngster was diagnosed as an insulin dependent diabetic - resulting from his previous treatment.

"When Cory was first diagnosed diabetic it was a real juggling act to get his food/insulin balance right, especially as he is a growing boy. As his mother, I really felt that I needed to be there to see to his needs, " explains Anita who has another son, 12-year-old Clayton.

But the Barry mum found that her role has become less stressful due to the help of her Cardiff employers.

Anita has worked as a customer sales executive for British Gas since 1990, in a busy call centre dealing with customers' queries relating to the installation of gas supplies.

"British Gas have been very understanding and flexible. They worked with me to find a solution we were all happy with. I reduced my hours and finish work at 4pm which allows me to be home to calculate and administer Cory's daily insulin injection, " she says.

The two conditions from which Cory suffers often clash, which results in days off from school due to illness.

"If I need to phone work and have a day off to look after Cory, even at very short notice, I know there will be no problems, " says Anita.

"British Gas' Carers' Policy, which the company developed to help and support employees like me who find themselves caring for someone, has given me a sense of job security and certainly makes me feel the company really does care about me and my circumstances, " she explains.

"I think it's important for a large company like British Gas who employs thousands of people to have a policy in black and white. It demonstrates to staff the commitment the company has to them.

British Gas' policy has helped to take some of the stress out of caring for Cory.

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