SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD Ulamila Dutt only wished her parents were present when her act of selfless services was recognised at Government House yesterday.
The Form Six student of Gospel High School in Samabula fought back her tears when reminiscing a journey most girls her age would not contemplate.
In April this year, she accompanied her mother Sainiana Dutt, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer to India for operation.
She sacrificed her studies to fulfil her responsibility as a daughter to her mother and bedridden father.
Her father Rajeshwar Datt, has been bedridden with stroke and for Ulamila, attending school daily comes second.
"This is when life started to change for me and my younger sister," she said.
"We did not regret missing school because of our dedication to look after our parents," she said.
At Government House yesterday, Ulamila wiped away her tears, wishing her parents were with her to witness the momentous occasion of getting recognised for her act of love.
She was one of the seven children from different parts of Fiji who have stood out in the community they served.
"My journey was tough, yet satisfying," she said crying.
"When I look around the pain of not sharing this moment with my parents is very hard to bear," she said.
Her roles included looking after her mum's welfare and liaising with doctors and hospital staff.
From making sure that her mother had her meals and medication on time to taking her for radiation therapy and subsequently admitted in the hospital, Ulamila has done it all.
She thanked her school for allowing her to attend her classes whenever possible.