Why This 10-Year-Old Won A Courage Award For His Selfless Acts Of Love To Disabled Brothers

'He doesn’t see what he does as special.'

16/10/2017 14:42 BST | Updated 16/10/2017 14:51 BST

Joe Johnson isn’t like many other kids his age.

The 10-year-old has 13-year-old twin siblings, Jack and Charlie who have special additional needs, and a three-year-old sister, Megan.

Jack has cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and developmental delay. Charlie has autism, epilepsy, cortical visual impairment, learning difficulties and developmental delay. 

As soon Joe was able to walk and talk, he took it upon himself to start caring for his brothers whenever they needed his help. 

And that’s why he won ‘Young Carer’ of the year at the 2017 Yorkshire Children of Courage awards on Friday 13 October. 

“We felt incredibly proud when they announced Joe had won,” his mum, Karen Johnson, told HuffPost UK. “Joe was surprised and thrilled, he had a huge smile on his face.

“He’s very pleased to have won and desperate to show his friends his trophy at school.”

KarenJohnson
Karen Johnson and her partner Paul, and from left to right: Joe, Jack, Megan and Charlie.

For Joe, looking after his brothers is more than just helping them out with simple tasks. While he does lend a hand when they’re getting dressed, getting into the car or just getting on the school bus, his role is so much more than that. Joe is his brothers’ aide whenever they need his help. 

“My first thoughts when I think about Joe is that he’s caring, thoughtful and kind,” Johnson, from Ossett, West Yorkshire, told HuffPost UK. “I would also say he’s independent, friendly, clever, patient and sensitive.

“Joe has looked after his brothers as long as I can remember. As soon as he started to be able to do things they couldn’t, he took it on himself to help them. No one has ever had to ask him.

“He will automatically go to them. Joe makes us proud everyday, not only with the way he looks after his siblings but with the thoughtful, caring young man he is growing into.” 

KarenJohnson

Johnson said she has so many examples of Joe going above and beyond for his brothers. One that stands out is when Charlie had a seizure and Joe knew exactly what to do to keep the situation calm.

“When Charlie had a seizure, Joe took the others [Jack and Megan] out to make it quiet for Charlie,” she explained. “He got me what I needed to look after Charlie, and grabbed the phone so I could call for help.

“Charlie once had a bad meltdown and was trying to hurt me in his anger. Joe  just picked Meg up and said ‘Let’s go and play’. He lifted her to safety and allowed me to calm Charlie on my own.

“Joe will often try to calm Charlie as a meltdown is brewing by distracting him in various ways - he is very good with him.” 

KarenJohnson
Joe and his brother Charlie. 

Johnson shared another time when Charlie had to have wires glued to his head in an epilepsy monitoring appointment and was very unhappy. Joe offered to buy him a present out of his birthday money. 

And when Jack had an operation last year, Joe was incredibly worried about him and asked his mum if he could visit and play games with his brother in the hospital to “keep his spirits up.”

“He’s always tried to include Jack in his play,” she added. 

Joe’s kindness isn’t limited to his home life. His mum was recently told that Joe received ‘Star of the Week’ at school for helping a new member of his class. He later found out he had special education needs (SEN).

She was told he was one of the most supportive members of the class. 

KarenJohnson

“Joe deserves this award as a recognition for all he does and to show how much we as a family love and appreciate him,” said Johnson.

“He doesn’t see what he does as special - he just does it and despite how hard it can be for him at times he never complains. He’s never resented the boys or the time and things we have to do differently because of them.

“He has so many great qualities and in sure some he has acquired from his relationship with the boys.”

Find out more about the other winners in the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards here.

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