Award for Forest Gate boy, 8, who cared for mum as she battled terminal cancer
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 November 2017
Looking after a terminally ill parent at any age is tough, so imagine how it must be when you’re just five years old.
That was the challenge little Kajus Vaivadas faced when his mum, Ingrida, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
As his mum’s condition worsened, the Forest Gate youngster continued to care for her every day while still keeping up with his studies at St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Ilford.
Kajus, now eight, has been recognised for his selflessness by being presented with a Diana Award, which is given out in the name of the late princess to young role models.
He was nominated by staff at Barnardo’s indigo young carers project, which continues to support Kajus and where he helps other young people at the fortnightly young carers’ club.
Poignantly, he received the award close to the first anniversary of his mum’s death.
He said: “I loved looking after my mum and I really miss her. I just like helping other children like me so they don’t feel that they’re on their own.”
Kajus and his dad, who he now lives with, were accompanied by Barnardo’s project worker Alison Connolly to the award ceremony.
They were also joined by a former neighbour, who described how the youngster would often help to prepare food for his mum, give her medication and help to clean the home.
Alison said: “Kajus’s neighbour said his mum would have been incredibly proud and happy for him to receive this award, because she loved him so very deeply. I felt so proud and privileged to be there, it was wonderful and truly inspirational.
“Kajus is an exceptional boy. He brought so much joy to his mum’s life and gave her a reason to battle her condition.
“It was just the two of them in the house and Kajus did everything he could to help, never complaining that he couldn’t enjoy the things his friends could.”
Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s in London, added: “Kajus is an inspiration and we’re so pleased that his positivity and kindness to others have been recognised with a Diana Award.
“It feels especially poignant on the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, with Prince Harry and Prince William having spoken out about the emotional impact of losing their mum.”