By age 12, there are few household tasks a teenager shouldn't be able to handle, but when you are a young carer like Wangaratta's Lachlan Fraumano, it's not just as simple as taking out the garbage or doing the dishes.
Lachlan is a carer for his older brother, Brandon, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2006. On top of general household chores, Lachlan provides great support to his parents and relieves them of some of their daily stresses by taking responsibility for his brother and seven-year-old sister, Maddison, before and after school everyday.
Through nib health funds' elite partnership with the Geelong Cats, Lachlan will have his time to shine, with a well deserved, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join captain, Joel Selwood, in leading the Cats onto the field for their season opener against Hawthorn at the MCG on Monday, 28 March.
It has been a harrowing journey for the entire Fraumano family since Brandon was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago.
As well as the incomprehensible issues of dealing with a child going through cancer treatment, Lachlan's parents also face the daily challenge of ensuring they provide him and his younger sister with the care and attention they not only require, but deserve.
Villa Maria Catholic Homes' (VMCH) Young Carers Mentor Program, funded by nib foundation, has been the answer for both Lachlan and his parents. VMCH is a not-for-profit organisation providing quality services and opportunities for seniors, people with a disability, their families and carers. Through their mentor program Lachlan has access to additional support, as well as an outlet outside the family unit where he can express himself and talk about his own needs.
"Villa Maria Catholic Homes' program has been invaluable for Lachlan. Having access to a mentor has helped him not only deal with his own needs and challenges of becoming a teenager, but also those associated with having a brother who is living with a serious illness," said Lachlan's mother, Melissa Fraumano.
"Lachlan's eyes lit up when he was told about the opportunity to run onto the MCG with the Cats players. With so much of our attention being on Brandon, this will be a wonderful opportunity for Lachlan to be in the spotlight. He is so excited and can't wait to be part of the action."
Lachlan's mentor, Michael Garratt, as well as his dad and uncle will be joining him at the game to watch on as he experiences something most AFL fans can only dream of.
In 2014, nib foundation established a multi-year partnership with VMCH to support the Young Carers Mentor Program, which links young carers with an adult mentor to increase their social connections and help achieve their life goals and aspirations.