TWO sisters have been going above and beyond to help their parents care for their younger sister who has a rare genetic condition.

Emily Kitson, seven, was diagnosed with Rett syndrome about three years ago.

Since the diagnosis, her older sisters Charlotte, 11, and Chloe, nine, have done everything they can to support their parents Amy and Brian, and to raise money and awareness about the condition.

Their efforts have been recognised and the girls have been nominated for a Young Champions award, in the Young Carers category.
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Rett syndrome affects brain development in girls, resulting in mental and physical disability.

Amy, 38, of Chapel Lane, Carlton, said: “Emily was 18 months to two-years-old when we knew something was wrong.

“She could say ten or 15 words and regressed that skill. She doesn’t talk at all now. She lost some motor skills, she can’t dress herself, we need to do everything for her though she can still walk.

“She has a wheelchair but we have tried to keep her walking because some girls can lose their mobility.

“They can also develop things like epilepsy. It’s an ongoing thing and you have to watch out for these things.

“It was quite a big thing for the kids to find out, with Emily being their little sister. It was quite hard for them and they would get a bit upset, especially Chloe who is closer in age to Emily. She would say it wasn’t fair.

“But she is their little sister. They help me and understand as young carers that they help out and that she does take a lot of my time.

“They are great kids, they sit with her, read to her and pass me things when I am looking after her.”

Charlotte and Chloe both attended Meadstead Primary, and Emily attended the nursery. Charlotte is now at Outwood Academy and Emily attends Greenacre.

The two sisters held a stall at the Meadstead summer fair to raise awareness and sold buns and jewellery, and plan to hold another at the Christmas fair.

They are also helping to fundraise for Rett UK. Amy and Brian are running the London Marathon this year in aid of the charity and the girls are helping them to reach their fundraising target.

Charlotte and Chloe were nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award last year by Nicola Smith, headteacher at Meadstead Primary school. Their Young Champions nomination has come as quite a surprise to Amy.

She said: “It’s amazing to know that my girls have been recognised again for the help they have been giving to their sister. I’m over the moon for them.”