'My life as a young carer' - Woman's new book aims to support others

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Rochelle Bugg has published Handle With Care - a poignant part-diary and part-guide. Picture: Jon Enoch - Credit: Jon Enoch

A woman originally from Lowestoft has published a book detailing her experiences as a young carer to her late mum.

Handle With Care is a poignant part-diary and part-guide written by Rochelle Bugg, which describes how at the age of 25 she - alongside the support of St Elizabeth Hospice - helped nurse her mother Shirley through treatment after she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.

Rochelle and Shirley Bugg at Rochelle's graduation in 2007.

Rochelle and Shirley Bugg at Rochelle's graduation in 2007. Picture: Rochelle Bugg - Credit: Rochelle Bugg

With seven million carers in the UK, and 700,000 of these classed as young carers, the book offers an insight into the reality many of these young carers face as they navigate changing family dynamics, financial and emotional pressures as well as adjusting to life after the loss of a loved one.

It is these experiences which inspired Ms Bugg to take her blog, which she kept while caring for her mum, and develop it into a book which she hopes can support others.

Ms Bugg said: “When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can be such a lonely time and you don’t know where to turn.

Rochelle as a child with her mum Shirley Bugg

Rochelle as a child with her mum Shirley Bugg. Picture: Bugg family - Credit: Bugg family

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“Following mum’s diagnosis, and having already lost my dad in 2000 to pancreatic cancer, my first thought was ‘there’s no way I will get through this,’ but I did and my book combines my story with practical advice and a healthy dose of humour, which hopefully provide help to anyone going through something similar.”

The front cover of Handle with Care by Rochelle Bugg.

The front cover of Handle with Care by Rochelle Bugg. Picture: Rochelle Bugg - Credit: Rochelle Bugg

Rochelle’s parents were well known for running Lowestoft Family Bowl and the Carousel pub as well as Shirley working at a number of schools across the region.

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Before passing away aged 56, in 2012, Shirley and her family had used St Elizabeth Hospice’s day care services, respite care and its 24-hour support phone line, OneCall.

Of St Elizabeth Hospice, which improves life for people in east Suffolk living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, Ms Bugg added: “St Elizabeth Hospice meant the world to us.

"The hospice was bright and welcoming and their emphasis was about helping us to live with mum’s illness, rather than focussing on the fact she was one day going to die from her illness.

“The hospice really provided the perfect blend of emotional and practical support and my book explains how this was of real benefit.”

Handle With Care will be published on March 4.

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