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An unbreakable bond

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Terita Bean will never forget the call.

The person at the other end was telling her she had been named Mother of the Year. Problem was, she didn't have any children.

It turned out she'd been nominated for the annual Continental Society competition by her nine-year-old brother Tokia.

She had helped their father Tracey care for him since he was a toddler.

“I was completely shocked when the teacher called,” the 19-year-old said. “I didn't even know he'd written an essay. It was moving. It blew me out of the water.”

The essay, which was chosen from 131 entries from eight schools, brought her to tears.

“My mother, Terry Bean, developed breast cancer when Tokia was just eight months old,” she said. “It kind of broke us, but we were determined to stay together.”

She was only 10 at the time and her sister T'Chante, 11. Together, they pitched in to care for Tokia and his now 15-year-old brother, Tariq.

“I got them up in the morning and she'd put them down at night,” she said. “We tried to keep Tokia away from my mother when she was sick. We didn't want the chemicals from her treatment to impact him. He was so little.”

Mrs Bean died on May 10, 2012. Tokia was five.

“I felt sad when my mother died but it has made my sister and I very close,” the Prospect Primary School student said. “My sister's care makes me feel better when I think about my mom. Her care makes me feel better because she is there for me when I need her.”

The Chopsticks waitress helps Tokia with his homework, buys school supplies and plays with him.

Her hope is that she is one day able to put enough money aside to leave the island to study marketing.

At the moment, she spends a lot of time following North Village.

Tokia loves football and plays for the youth team, so she goes to all his matches.

“I have been dealing with my brothers for five years — they are my everything,” Miss Bean said. “In the stands I think I cheer louder than anyone.”

She's also often the one who stays home with him if he is ill.

“It depends on whether it's my day off,” she said. “But when he had the flu recently, I had him back to good health in three days.”

Tokia wrote: “Because of her love and care I am treated very nicely.

“The way she cares for me is the way she is supposed to treat me and I love it that way. When I treat her good she also loves it.”

Tokia and his sister will be presented with a range of prizes at a special assembly at Prospect Primary today.

His winning essay will also be read in front of the whole school.

Tokia's essay

My sister is named Terita Bean. She is 19 and should be recognised as Mother of the Year. When I was five my mom died from cancer. Her name was Terry Bean.

I felt sad because she died. It made me and my sister very close. My sister is helpful, works hard and cares for me. This is why my sister should be recognised as Mother of the Year.

She is helpful to me because she gives me what I need. She cooks the family chicken fried rice and it lasts for three days.

When I am sick she makes me chicken noodle soup and tea for my throat. That is why she is the best mother to me. She shows me she cares by going to my football games and helps the team by doing what medics do. If someone gets hurt, she helps them feel better.

When I need help, she helps with my homework. She helps me with my math homework. She encourages me. When we do math she tells me to write down the equation. Then we work out the equation.

My sister is helpful to me because she cooks my food, washes my clothes and works hard every day. Ever since my mom died she has been taking care of me. Secondly, my sister is a working sister. She works for me every day. She works at Chopsticks and cooks the food. The money that she makes on her job helps to support me. She helps by doing this for me. She supports me and makes me feel happy. It shows how much she cares for me. I appreciate that she helps me when I need help. Also, she goes to the Stationery Store and gets me school supplies.

When she goes to the store I tell her what I need in the store. I tell her I need pencils and she gets me pencils. If I tell her I need pens, she gets me two packages of pens. She got me a geometry set and books for readers' workshop and maths' workshop. When she does all of this for me I feel excited and loved.

My sister's care helps me feel much better when I think about my mom. Her care helps me feel better because she is there for me when I need her. When I am feeling sad, my sister makes me feel better.

Because of her love and care I am treated nicely. The way she cares for me is the way she's supposed to treat me and I love it that way. When I treat her good she also loves it. That is why my sister should be Mother of the Year.

Terita Bean and brother Tokia (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Terita Bean and brother Tokia, reading his winning essay (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Award shock: Terita Bean and brother Tokia with his winning essay, which his sister did not know he had written (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 12, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm)

An unbreakable bond

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