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Most people will know The Veronicas as Australia’s powerhouse musical duo, but now Lisa and Jess Origliasso have opened up about their most “challenging” and “rewarding” role.
In an emotional video for Carers Australia, the sisters have spoken about caring for their mother Colleen, who was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition, called ‘progressive supranuclear palsy’.
“Caring for mama is the most challenging thing we’ve ever had to do, but it’s definitely the most rewarding,” Lisa says.
The twins explain their mother’s condition affects her cognitive and motor function, meaning the ability to walk, talk, think, swallow all starts to decline rapidly.
Colleen was first diagnosed five years ago, and when she was admitted to palliative care, Lisa and Jess put their music careers on hold, moving back to Australia to care for her.
“You can’t ever prepare for a role like the one that we’re in, but when you find yourself in it you just do the absolute best you can,” Lisa says.
Jess admits it took them some time to actually recognise themselves as unpaid carers, but knew early on how big the responsibility was.
“It was almost confusing at the start as to why our emotional and mental health needed a lot of extra support,” Jess says.
“I don't think we realised at the start why things were starting to get really heavy, because we would do what we've been doing any day for her or someone that we love.”
Lisa stressed this is why having support as a carer is also crucial.
“We’re really lucky that we have each other. On the days where it’s emotionally indescribably hard, we can really count on each other to understand,” she says, as sister Jess tears up.
“So in that regard I know how important it is as a carer to have support, to be able to know that there is someone out there that gets it too.”
Watch The Veronicas full interview here:
The sisters are ambassadors for Carers Week 2020 - which recognises the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend - and want to thank all carers for taking on their own “very special missions”.
“Thank you for your level of compassion and empathy for those you love. It is often times a thankless journey but the most full-filling,” Jess says.
“It’s [a role] with doesn’t come with pay, or a special title, you’re just there to give back to somebody you love. And that can be very very difficult.
“So thank you for caring because if I’ve learned anything for my mama it’s that the world needs more of that than anything else.”