An eight-year-old boy who alerts paramedics when his little brother suffers fits caused by a rare form of epilepsy has won an award for his impressive work in keeping his sibling safe.
Corbaley Morris carefully turns his three-year-old brother Kyson on his side and moves objects out of harm’s way during a fit, which mum, Nichole Gibson, 27, says makes her very proud.
Stay-at-home mum, Nichole, who lives in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, with her partner, Luke Morris, 31, a supervisor at a concrete site, and their boys, said: “Corbaley is such a good big brother. We’re so proud of him for helping Kyson.”
She added: “He never complains and is always the first one to make sure there is nothing in the room that could hurt Kyson when he starts to have a fit.
“We are always telling him what a good brother he is but it’s nice for him to hear it from other people too.”
Nichole and Luke were holiday with their sons in Greece in July 2018, when Kyson suffered his first seizure.
She said: “He was only seven months old and we didn’t know what to do.
“We ended up going to a Greek hospital and it was a nightmare because the ambulance took about an hour to arrive.
“When we came back home, we took him straight to the doctor but by the time he was diagnosed, he’d had three more fits.”
She added: “On top of that, Kyson was recently diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome.”
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, Dravet Syndrome is a rare, drug-resistant epilepsy that begins in the first year of life in an otherwise healthy infant. It is lifelong and usually presents with a prolonged seizure with fever that affects one side of the body.
Nichole said: “Due to this syndrome, there’s very little we can do for Kyson other than phone an ambulance every time he has a seizure, which is every couple of days.”
She added: “Kyson is also non-verbal and has developmental delays but Corbaley works with him, using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to help him communicate with the family.
“We’re incredibly lucky to have Corbaley on hand to help – there is a very special bond between them.”
Nichole says Corbaley will phone for an ambulance when Kyson begins to have a seizure, and keeps him safe until they arrive.
She said: “He’ll make sure there’s nothing around on the floor, like toys, that that Kyson could hurt himself on.
“He’s happy to help and always says that he just wants to make sure his little brother is OK.
“After Kyson has a seizure, Corbaley will roll him on his side and wait out the front for the ambulance.”
And Nichole says that due to Kyson’s condition, family trips can often be cut short or cancelled last minute.
She said: “We do end up missing out on a lot because Kyson will have a seizure without warning.
“The seizures are uncontrolled, so we don’t go out much or go on family holidays like we used to. Corbaley never moans that he is missing out on doing things like other children his age.”
She added: “We have to be careful with the activities we do and make sure nothing we’re doing could cause Kyson harm if he was to have a seizure at that moment.”
And Corbaley hopes to one day help other people in need of assistance.
Nichole said: “He once had to dress up at school as what he wants to be when he’s older. He chose to go as a paramedic.”
She added: “He said it was because paramedics and doctors help to make people better and he wanted to help Kyson and other people like him too.
“We know many children his age will never have to go through as much as he has had to, but he handles it so well.
“It means a lot for him to be recognised as he usually only hears from people he knows about how good he is with his brother.”
After spotting Epilepsy Action’s Helping Hands awards online, Nichole nominated Corbaley, and the youngster discovered he was a winner last month.
She said: “The awards recognise people who show a huge amount of care and generosity for others living with epilepsy, and I knew immediately that Corbaley deserved to win.
“I didn’t tell him until we discovered that he was a winner.”
She added: “When he received the certificate through the post, he was quite shocked but really excited.
“He’s had to grow up fast and we’re so incredibly proud of what he does for his little brother.”
Corbaley said: “I was so proud and happy when I heard I’d won a Helping Hands award.”
He added: “I love everything about my brother.
“He’s so special to me and I want to help him and make sure he’s safe.”
For more information about Epilepsy Action, go to: www.epilepsy.org.uk