Derry student award wins major award for devotion to brother John

Derry teenager Emma McCaughey has been awarded a national award by disability charity Sense for the support she provides to her brother with complex needs.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 1:08 pm

Emma, 18, has been confirmed as the joint winner of the 2021 ‘Young Sibling of the Year’ Award at the annual Sense Awards, in recognition of the selfless support she provides to her brother John, while also studying for her A-Levels last year.

The pandemic has been particularly challenging for Emma and her family with John being hospitalised several times. During each hospital stay Emma would stay by John’s side while also studying for her exams.

Emma is always there for John and even cancelled her A-level celebration when John had a seizure on the day she received her results.

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Emma with her brother John, who has complex needs.

For the past 10 years she has also attended local Sense events where she is always on hand to help with young siblings from other families too.

Emma McCaughey said: “Thank you so much for this award. It means so much to be to be recognised for something I do in my daily life, being John’s big sister. I also know many other siblings who work so hard and support their families. I’m so privileged to have won this award.

“Sense has helped us throughout most of John’s life. They’re always running charity fun days where you always meet new people, and it’s so nice to be recognised by Sense. Thank you so much.”

Sense Chief Executive, Richard Kramer, said: “We’re delighted to have Emma as our joint winner for the 2021 ‘Young Sibling of the Year’ award. Emma provides incredible support to John, always putting him first, and it’s incredible to see the bond they have as siblings. It’s fantastic to be able to recognise Emma in this way.”

Emma McCaughey, from Derry, with her 2021 Sense Award.

The Sense Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people with complex disabilities, as well as the staff, carers, family members, volunteers and fundraisers who support them. For more information about the Sense Awards visit: Sense is a national disability charity that supports people living with complex disabilities. For more on the charity, see: