WATCH:Highland Hero winner reflects on what it meant to be rewarded carer of the year
A woman who works tirelessly to bring joy and comfort to an nine-year-old boy who has a rare neurological condition reflects on how it felt to be named carer of the year at the annual Highland Hero awards last year.
Louise Borland, (38), who is also a nursing student, has made a huge difference to the life of not only her young charge Sam Cooper Douglas but also his family.
For almost three years Louise has been caring for the young boy who has suffered from microcephaly from birth.
It is a condition where there is a problem with brain development in the womb or when the brain stops growing after they are born.
Louise provides much needed respite for his parents but has also become Sam’s ‘bestie’ in the process.
Since winning the award last year Louise said: "I was really overwhelmed at the time and on the night I didn't think I would win as the people that were up for the same award had amazing stories.
"So, I was quite shocked, but it was also really nice to be recognised for the work that I do with Sam, although I don't see it as a job or work."
Louise continues to care for Sam and said: "It's the most rewarding job in the world, especially when Sam smiles as you then know he's having a good time and that's the best part."
Louise's nominees were Sam's family.
They said: "Louise has enriched our son Sam's life in incredible ways since becoming his carer. Every shift she has with him is full of fun and nonsense.
"His eyes light up when she arrives at our house to take him on their next adventure.
"She has become a hugely important part of Sam's life and is so emotionally invested in him and cares about him so much.
"We know this is more than a job to her and the way she looks after him which means we can fully relax when he is in her care.
"This is a rare feeling for us. She is full of enthusiasm, kindness and fun and will always make things accessible for Sam, there are no limits.
"Nothing is too much trouble or effort and Sam feeds off her incredible energy.
"We would be lost without her as not only is Sam her ‘wee bestie’ but she has become an invaluable part of our family's life. We struck gold the day Louise came to work with Sam."
With the approach of this years Highland Hero awards, Louise was keen to point out the importance of recognition for carers.
She said: "I think these awards are so important for giving people the recognition of their job, as it's nice for someone to be told that what they're doing is good .
"I think since Covid everyone just works and works, and they're not told how good they're doing or if what they're doing is right, so I think it's a great way to make people aware of what carers do."