Zaynab Inam, 16, is used to dealing with a lot of things at once. Rather than just having to worry about the usual stuff we all think about – what Netflix series to watch, the fact we keep stalking our ex on social media or whether our local Nandos is one that serves halal chicken – she has so much more to juggle: She’s a carer for her mum who suffers from MS, she helps to look after her younger brother, she helps around the house and she is studying for her upcoming exams. Fair play.
Her hard work has not gone unnoticed; the heroic teen is now one of three finalists in the prestigious MS Society’s annual award of Young Carer of the Year. The student, from Kearsley Academy, plays a key role in running the household chores, as her mum was diagnosed with MS a decade ago.
She assists her mum with dressing, cooking meals, walking and taking her medication correctly. Plus, as if that isn’t enough, she helps to look after her 12-year-old bro; she’s a legend plain and simple – which is why Ummahsonic has awarded her a well-deserved ‘Legend of the Week’ status.
“I totally didn’t expect this. I’m so happy to know a lot of people are proud of me,” Zaynab told her local newspaper The Bolton News. “And I’m really proud of myself, because it’s a lot of hard work. But the support I get, including through the stories and messages I see from the MS Society, makes a huge difference.”
MS, a chronic illness that affects over 100k people across the UK, can cause problems with the way that people move, feel and see the world. Symptoms vary from person to person, but they can include having double vision, blindness in one eye, muscle weakness, trouble with sensation or trouble with coordination. There is, unfortunately, no known cure for MS right now.
Ms Inam, Zaynab’s mum, nominated her daughter for the award herself. “Ever since my diagnosis Zaynab has been there for me”, she says. “She goes above and beyond her role as a daughter. Whilst looking after me she also looks after her little brother, who is 12, and she is studying hard doing her GCSEs this year.”
She added: “Recently she was awarded Pupil of the Week at school, out of 600 pupils. I’m so proud of her!” The MS Society Awards – to be held this week in London – rewards the achievements and hard work of people who make a difference for those in the MS community. “We are delighted Zaynab is one of this year’s finalists and we’re looking forward to welcoming her and her family to our awards ceremony,” Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said.