Josh, Jessica’s Brother

Kate Carty, of case management company J S Parker Ltd, wrote to us to nominate Josh Bootes, aged 13 from Northumberland. Josh is older brother to Jessica, who is a 5 year old girl who sustained a very severe brain injury in March 2014. Jessica and her mum and dad were going on their regular supermarket shopping trip when their car was hit by another vehicle. As a result of her injuries, Jessica was left in a coma and had to have a large part of her skull removed. She has also recently undergone a second cranioplasty operation

Kate told us Jessica’s, “injuries have been life changing for her and her family as she has gone from being a bright, independent and active little girl to a little girl who has been left with physical problems, severe speech and language problems, partially sighted and unable to express herself who experiences anxiety and behavioural difficulties. She needs round the clock monitoring for her safety and help with all aspects of her daily living, much of which she could do independently before the accident.”  The road traffic accident has turned their lives upside down.

Josh was away on a school skiing trip when Jessica’s accident occurred. Sadly, his grandfather also passed away in the same week. During this extremely difficult time, Josh came home and gave as much help and support as he could from day one. Kate told us, “Josh supports his mum with Jessica after school and while his dad is at work. He never complains or is angry at the high level of attention that Jessica requires from his parents and grandparents. He is extremely polite and willing to accept strange people and professionals into his home as he knows it is for the benefit of his sister. He fits in with Jessica’s routine and just gets on with things. He continues to make progress at school, despite everything that has happened in the last year to his family.”

The Child Brain Injury Trust knows how challenging it can be for siblings when their brother or sister is injured. It can be scary and overwhelming and difficult to cope with all the attention their sibling now requires. It’s inspiring to see how supportive Josh has been so we are delighted to be able to acknowledge the support he gives to mum, dad and Jessica.

Kate said, “Jessica would be lost without her big brother’s support, he plays with her, he is there for her, is very understanding of her anxieties, routines and challenging behaviour. He will go on routine family outings to help with Jessica and keep her entertained. He will put her needs before his own and make sure she has what she needs to keep her happy. She feels safe when she is with him.”

For more information and support for siblings, check out our Factsheet on this topic. We ran a webinar on this subject on Thursday 21st May, which will be available to listen to again as a recording.   In order to listen, you will need to register for our online Learning Catalogue which you can do here.

To read our other Action for Brain Injury Week blogs, click here.