Bo'ness six-year-old Thea Nisbet wins Young Sibling of the Year

A girl from Bo’ness has been crowned Young Sibling of the Year at a charity awards ceremony, after facing huge upheaval when her little brother was born with a rare genetic syndrome.
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Six-year-old Thea Nisbet was nominated for a Sense Award by her proud mum and dad, Max (36) and Kasia (37), because they felt she was sometimes “overlooked” due to the care her brother Troy, now aged two, needs.

For six months after Troy was born during lockdown in March 2021, Thea was unable to see or meet her desperately ill little brother.

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Troy had CHARGE syndrome, a complex condition affecting just one in 10,000 to 15,000 babies, which causes a host of physical disabilities.

Thea with her award; she was crowned the winner last night.Thea with her award; she was crowned the winner last night.
Thea with her award; she was crowned the winner last night.

For Troy, it meant he needed three life-saving heart operations and a tracheostomy so he can breathe.

While Troy was in the paediatric intensive care unit at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, Thea spent six months living away from the family home in a room of a nearby Ronald McDonald House.

She now helps her mum and dad give Troy 24-hour care.

Thea helps by alerting her parents when she thinks Troy needs suction to clear his airways or swiftly running upstairs to bring swabs; in addition, she has also coped with the adults around her being deeply stressed.

Thea Nisbet has been a huge help to her wee brother Troy and her parents wanted her to know how special she is.Thea Nisbet has been a huge help to her wee brother Troy and her parents wanted her to know how special she is.
Thea Nisbet has been a huge help to her wee brother Troy and her parents wanted her to know how special she is.
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Her parents are delighted Thea has been named Young Sibling of the Year and hope the recognition will show her just how much she means to her whole family.

Dad Max said: “It’s fantastic that Thea has won; she’s an incredibly kind and loving big sister to Troy and her mum, Kasia, and I are just so proud of her.

“Sometimes we’ve felt she gets overlooked because of the amount of care her brother receives. For Thea to have a bit of the spotlight for a change makes us feel a little better!

“We hope this Sense Award will help her see how special she is and how much she means to all of us.”

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Thea was over the moon when she was announced as the winner at the virtual awards ceremony last night (Thursday).

She said: “I feel very proud – yeah! I love my little brother and I think he’s excited about the award too. When we found out, we played tickle games and hit the balloon to each other!”

Sense, the charity that supports people with complex disabilities, recognised a total of 35 shortlisted entries at its virtual awards ceremony.

Richard Kramer, Sense chief executive, said: “A huge well done to Thea on winning the Young Sibling of the Year Award. She is clearly a really loving big sister. I hope she feels proud and realises she is very special.”

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