24 Jun Trainee nurse nominated for Young Scot Award
A teenager who nursed her dad through drug addiction before he died is keeping a promise to him to become a nurse.
Rhys Greig, 19, spent years caring for her former ice hockey player dad Ryan, who was found dead in his flat last year, aged just 44.
Despite his addiction, Ryan always encouraged Rhys to keep up her studies and when she graduates from Dundee University, she will dedicate her degree to him.
Her determination to keep studying against all the odds has earned her a Young Scot nomination in the Excellence in Education category.
Rhys, of Lochgelly, Fife, who has just finished her first year, said: “Education has been the only stable thing in my life. Dad always encouraged me to work as hard as I could.
“He found it impossible to fulfil his dreams so I am going to fulfil mine for him. Yes, bad things happen but you can either let them define you in a bad way or use them to do good.
“I think some people expected me to follow in my dad’s footsteps and go off the rails but that’s not what he would have wanted.”
Rhys, who has a brother Brendan, 21, says their dad’s life started to spiral out of control after he had a brain haemorrhage aged just 27.
She said: “Dad was a successful, intelligent man with so much potential. He was a mechanical engineer and a talented athlete.
“He played ice hockey for Fife Flyers and represented GB at the Youth Olympics in America.
“After the brain haemorrhage, he had to learn to walk again. Although he made a physical recovery, mentally he was never the same. It was all downhill from there.
“He was addicted to prescription painkillers, then it was Valium, followed by heroin.”
Rhys started caring for him in her early teens.
She said: “There were spells he was OK but there were times he was so out of it, he could not walk or talk. He overdosed when I was 14.
“Towards the end of last year, dad hit a bad patch and he told me he was suicidal. I struggled to get him help but it didn’t arrive. He was found dead on December 27. It was the saddest day of my life. I think one of the reasons he left us when he did was because he was content my brother and I were going to make good lives for ourselves.
“When I got into uni last year my dad was so proud, just as he was of my brother, who is a sales estimator at a double glazing firm. I’m determined to keep making him proud.”
Family friend Suzanne McMillan, who nominated Rhys, said: “She is one of a kind. She’s a compassionate and focused young woman.”
Young Hero – sponsored by Co-op Food
Community – sponsored by the Scottish Government
Unsung Hero – sponsored by Solace Scotland
Year of Young People 2018 Champion of the Year
Excellence in Education – sponsored by University of St Andrews
Enhancing Education – sponsored by Skills Development Scotland
Sporting – sponsored by sportscotland
Health and Wellbeing – sponsored by Active Scotland Division
Equality and Diversity – sponsored by Standard Life Aberdeen
The Arts – sponsored by Creative Scotland
Entertainment – sponsored by Scottish Citylink
Environment – sponsored by QMS
Enterprise – sponsored by HSBC
If you know someone as deserving as Rhys, then nominate them at www.youngscotawards.com