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Airing Pain 59: Pain in the Family: Young adults 1 of 2

The experiences of young people whose family is affected by pain and a campaign to help improve their lives

This edition has been funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian’s Self-directed Support Innovation Fund.

Lost childhood, financial burden, emotional turmoil and guilt – these are some of the challenges facing young people who care for people in pain on top of the caring itself. They’re often left feeling invisible, going unrecognised and unsupported for years.

In the first of two programmes putting young carers centre stage, Paul Evans talks to a family about how pain has affected their lives. Erin McGuigan was hospitalised after developing debilitating pain in her limbs and now uses wheelchair and crutches. She explains how her condition has affected her brother and sisters. Her sister, Donna, talks movingly of her feelings of powerlessness, how she has encouraged Erin, and the need to keep listening and understanding.

Terri Smith a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP), explains why and how she is campaigning to improve the situation for young carers. Hours of freely-given care saves the Scottish Government £1.4 billion a year, but often leaves young people struggling to stay in education and financially insecure.

Issues covered in this programme include: Young people and children, family, relationships, economic impact, school, education, young carers, financial support, foot pain, peer support, policy, leukaemia, financial support and travel cost.


  • Erin McGuigan
  • Donna McGuigan, young carer
  • Lorna McGuigan, Erin’s mother
  • Terri Smith, MSYP for Edinburgh and Northern Leith.
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