A SELFLESS nine-year-old boy from Redditch has been shortlisted for a major charity award after supporting his disabled brother throughout the pandemic.

Zachary Filler is the older brother of Luca, aged six, who has complex needs, including being deafblind.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, brother Zach has supported Luca with his learning and development, spending time singing with him and keeping him stimulated with his sensory toys.

He often watches over his younger brother while his parents are busy and offers support with feeding Luca - administered through a tube in his stomach.

Since March, Zach has spent most of his time at home due to Luca’s increased vulnerability to the virus and the family being required to shield.

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He misses his friends, grandparents and playing football with his team, but he understands the importance of protecting his younger brother, and has shown incredible patience and understanding.

Now, the big-hearted brother has been nominated for the ‘Young Sibling of the Year’ award at the 17th annual Sense Awards.

The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people with complex disabilities, as well as the staff, carers, family members, volunteers and fundraisers who support them. Winners will be announced on December 1.

Zach is a member of Sense’s ‘Siblings and Young Carers group’, where he can socialise and join in online music, art and sports sessions with other children who understand what it is like to have a sibling with complex disabilities. This has helped Zach to make new friends and build his confidence.

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Faye Filler, Zach’s mum, said: “It is emotional for us for him to be recognised. Siblings get forgotten about a little bit when you have a complex child who has other needs. It is really touching as Zach is not often recognised for how caring he is. He asked if he got nominated because of Luca but I keep telling him it was because of him. It was really emotional for me.”

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive of national disability charity Sense, said: "Zach is a selfless and positive young man who cares so much about his brother, Luca, and takes on additional responsibilities to support him. Zach deserves this recognition for the love, care and support he has given to Luca and his family.”