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« Sea Legs of Survivorship | Main | Stepping up to Healthy Survivorship »

February 22, 2008

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Jeanne

Oh Wendy,

This post really brings back memories. Our dear sister Kay's death from invasive breast cancer back in 1990 really made the three of us who survived appreciate each other, and it brought us closer together.

Then when Jill was diagnosed, had a mastectomy, and chemo, and a recurrence . . . well SuperSib is what comes to mind. It wasn't just the cards in the mail with sparkly stars to fall out all over the bed, it wasn't just the sister who was there to drive Jill where she needed to go, or to fix dinner. It wasn't just the little messages of hope that went out in the mail every day. It was the listening to what was requested by Jill for support, and more important, it was figuring out what she needed that she hadn't thought to ask for.

One thing in particular comes to mind. I was with her over a long weekend when she was hospitalized. Well-meaning friends and relatives were stopping by constantly. But Jill was in pain and she was not up to visitors.

I walked down to the nurses' station and said: "How long would it take to get a sign on Jill's door that says "No Visitors Allowed." As it turned out, it was there just for the asking.

In my experience, people who are in need aren't always able to advocate for themselves. That's what SuperSibs are for! Everybody needs one.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD

Your description of the sparkly stars falling out of the greeting card onto Jill's bed highlights how sisters and brothers of any age can add joy and whimsy to a loved one's difficult times.

SuperSibs! tends to the needs of the sisters and brothers of children with cancer. By addressing their emotional needs, they help sibs feel good about all the helping and sacrificing that is often necessary.

No matter how old you are, you can't take care of someone else if you are physically and emotionally spent.

Hold tight to joyful memories.
With hope, Wendy

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