To look at bubbly Caitlin Buckard, nobody would know the heartbreak the youngster had suffered.
Faced with tragic circumstances, the 15-year-old has learned about disability, depression and suicide.
But the young carer now uses her experiences to help other young people in her school, and will be honoured tomorrow at BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards.
“I think it’s just normal, we all go through difficult things”, said the Lostock Hall Academy pupil.
When Caitlin was nine, her sister Phoebe was born with Moebius Syndrome, which causes facial paralysis and meant Phoebe was at risk of choking.
Caitlin, who lives in Lostock Hall, said: “At first we didn’t know what was wrong with her and she was in hospital quite a lot. I think I spent her first three Christmases in hospital.
“It was weird, it wasn’t as bad looking back but it was a weird feeling.”
In 2010, Caitlin’s mum Lyndsay had a baby girl, who was stillborn at 38 weeks.
The following year, her brother Stanley was born, but soon after, tragedy struck again as her mum’s partner, Alex Kenyon, died suddenly.
Caitlin said: “My stepdad, Phoebe and Stanley’s dad, was engaged to my mum and battling depression for a while and he sadly took his own life.
“He felt he couldn’t be helped any more, so my mum was left on her own with three children. So I stepped up and thought I’m going to help look after Stanley and give mum me-time.”
Caitlin had counselling at school following what happened and said: “For a couple of months I was quite anti-social and didn’t really want to talk to anybody. But when I started to come around I thought, rather than talking to people, I want to help people and I set up a mentoring system, so now I mentor people in my school.”
Caitlin has now been revealed as a Radio 1 Teen Hero, after being nominated by her mum, and will be honoured at a special star-studded ceremony tomorrow, hosted by Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora.
She said: “I don’t feel like I’ve done a lot to be proud of, I just think I’ve adapted like any other teenager would to help my family.”
Her mum Lyndsay, 33, said: “She tremendously stood up to the mark, she was absolutely amazing.
“She turned all her heartache and grief and suffering and hardship into something positive. I nominated Caitlin. I wanted something to be about her. I know how special she is and she has sacrificed a lot, but I wanted something to be dedicated to Caitlin and how proud of her I am.”
The Teen Awards will be live on Radio 1 tomorrow.