When Zimbabwe born Marilyn went to her GP with a chest infection and talked about her concerns at looking after her husband she was amazed to hear him tell her she was a carer.

Marilyn has looked after her husband for most of their 15 year marriage after he was involved in a horrendous car accident.

 “He was in a coma for couple of week and has never been ok since,” she says.

Her husband was forced to take medical retirement and Marilyn, a qualified nurse, automatically took it on herself to care for him as well as work full time.

“I just thought it was my duty to look after him as his wife. It’s what you do. I’m from Zimbabwe where a wife looks after someone to the end and this is just what you are supposed to do.”

When her husband’s condition worsened Marilyn began working part time and finally gave up work altogether to care for him.

“Then I got a chest infection and was quite ill. It’s a real struggle when you are trying to look after someone else when you are ill. When I told my GP that I was worried about who would look after my husband he asked if I had heard of CSWS and I said I had but I wasn’t a carer, I was a wife!

“The GP had such a struggle to convince me but I did eventually go along to one of the monthly groups at Crawley Library – that was three years ago and since then I’m usually there every month!

“Carers Support is absolutely amazing. We have speakers on a regular basis and I learn different things that are helpful to me as a carer. But we also learn so much from each other.

“Just recently I called a friend and introduced her to CSWS because her son fell and she is caring for him – she was like me and I was trying to persuade her she is a carer.”

As chair of Diverse Crawley Marilyn was determined others would not have to believe they had to cope alone because they were family member or friends so she invited CSWS to come to one of its events so that staff could spread the word about carers to the people from the wide diversity of cultures the group represents.

“Carers Support makes a lot of difference. I actually feel like there is an umbrella over me, someone looking after me. I don’t feel alone and if I have questions I can always ask by email or phone and I get a response promptly. Just knowing someone is there for me is powerful,” she adds.