Teen Now Cares for Disabled Little Brother After Tragic Death of Both Parents

Combined Shape

When you think of a typical 18-year-old, you probably think of someone who is just embarking on adulthood. Many American 18-year-olds are either just starting college or figuring out their lives, but few run their own households.

Nathan Phillips is no ordinary young man. At just 18, he was tasked with deciding if he would become his little brother’s legal guardian.

Nathan’s brother, Luke, was just 12 at the time, but by then the boys had lost both their parents.

Their mother had passed away the year prior at just 53 years old. Cancer had claimed her life, leaving the boys with just their father.

Luke was riding on the back of a motorcycle with his dad, David, when they were in a head-on collision with a truck. David died before they could get him to the hospital.

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Luke’s foot had gotten caught under the truck’s tire, skinning his foot and destroying toes — he had to have his pinkie toe and half of his big toe removed.

While Luke was recovering in the hospital, Nathan didn’t tell him about their father.

“It was pretty hard seeing him like that,” Nathan told the Metro. “The hardest thing was to tell him what happened to dad. When he was in A&E I had to keep telling him Dad was OK.”

“We had to keep telling him dad was OK when he was first in hospital,” Nathan continued. “The doctors said if we’d told him straight away he’d have panicked and he wouldn’t have been able to go into surgery.”

“He lost a lot of the skin on his foot, he needed a skin graft from the top of his leg onto his foot.”

Though the pair has their struggles, they’re making it work. Nathan admits he’s had to sacrifice a lot, but he doesn’t blame anyone for their condition. Plus, kind friends set up a fundraiser for the boys, blessing them with more than £11,000 (over $14,000).

“I think it has taught me to make the most of every day,” he said, “don’t let little things upset you, and just enjoy the days as they come.”

“I don’t want to be upset or angry about losing mum and dad. I’ve got to focus on looking after Luke now. We respect each other a lot more I think. I have to do things like wake him up early for school but he’s alright about it.”

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“He still gets his moments where he says ‘I miss mum and dad’ or ‘I wish dad was here,’ you know to give him a hug before bed. But we do stuff together to make sure things work out.”

“I used to spend more time with my mates. I’d be out in my car all the time or on my Xbox. I can still do those things now — but not so much. I’ve got the washing up, to do, the laundry, the shopping, making sure Luke’s uniform and my work stuff is sorted,” Nathan said.

“I sometimes feel as if I have been left to do everything by myself. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just how the world is. It has just meant I’ve had to mature a bit quicker.”

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Combined Shape
Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking