RED first recognised Ashleigh through her participation and growing leadership in four sibling camps. She is an active (particularly in netball) 14 yrs old and a sibling to Jordan who has CF. She also lives in Port Hedland with her family.
Could you tell us a bit about what it’s like living in a place like Port Hedland?
Port Hedland is in the far north of WA. It is an Iron Ore Mining Town and it also mines salt. The weather gets quite hot, it doesn’t usually get cool and when it rains it rains a lot. We also have cyclones, although this year we didn’t have any. I have been in Hedland for over three years and we moved here from Broome because of my mum and dad’s work. There is not really much to do in Hedland so I keep myself entertained by hanging out with friends and playing sport. I also like to get away and go camping and fishing. Some things are really good; there is no traffic or traffic lights and I like the heat.
We have heard that you’re a serious netball player, whereabouts do you play and how much time does this take up?
I play 3 games of netball a week, 2 games are played on Tuesday night, under 16’s and B’Grade. I play mixed adult netball on Thursday night. I train on Monday night and Thursday nights. I play in Goal Defence and Goal Keeper. I also belong to the Shooting Goals program at school and we play competitions against Newman, Tom Price and Karratha. We have to travel to each other’s towns to play. I have just finished playing in the North West Netball Championships, which were held in Broome. I played 4 full games on Saturday and 2 full games on Sunday, we won the grand final! I also play mixed touch rugby on Wednesday nights and I’m in the same team as my brother Jordan which is good.
What sorts of things have you done on the sibling camps and how do you think these camps might benefit siblings, particularly those from regional centres?
The activities are always different each time and the places the camps are held have been different every time so far. I love going to the camps and I really like to meet everyone. I have made some really good friends there. We keep in contact all the time now by the internet, Skype, snap chat and Instagram. The siblings on camp all understand what it’s like to have someone in the family who has CF and this is really great and you don’t feel alone, you know, like you’re the only one. Everyone on camp is in the same kind of situation. Maybe because I live so far away I don’t really meet anyone else like us, so I really enjoy going to the camps. My favourite activity so far on all of the sib’s camps has been the water biscuiting, which was so much fun. I would like to go to camp again this year.
Do you feel being a sibling to someone with CF has made your life a bit different and if so in what ways?
Yes, I think it does make you a bit different; sometimes I’m late to for school because physio takes so long. Everyone else that is late for school just says yeah I’m late because I slept in. Sometimes my friends ask why my brother has to take so many tablets and I’m not always sure what to say because he doesn’t tell many people he has CF. When Jordan goes to hospital it sometimes feels a bit weird. Sometimes I get worried about him wondering how he is going. Port Hedland is so far away from Perth and I don’t get to see him while he is in hospital. It also means that mum has gone with him and I then miss them both. It feels like he does get more attention because of his CF and I do understand he has too, so sometimes I feel like I’m just in the background. I am kind of used to that now though. My brother is older than me so I don’t really know what life would be like if he didn’t have CF.
Article from RED Magazine, Edition 3, 2015.