SuperSibs! is one of those great American success stories that rose up from the ashes of near tragedy. I am not a client of SuperSibs! but I was on the ground floor in helping this incredible organization plant its roots firmly and deeply in a mission that focuses on serving children in the shadows and shining a beacon of hope for their survival and success. The organization is founded and staffed by bona fide altruists and philanthropists who want nothing more than to move the mission forward but with professional, efficient, diligent, compassionate, and high performing execution.
Last year on May 22, 2008 my little brother who was 12 years old at the time was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). My life changed completely. I was 15 years old and went to every single appointment that he had, friends were no longer of importance nor was going anywhere except the Hospital and being with family. During that period of time I learned new vocabulary and my thoughts were only related to Leukemia. At one appointment the Child Life Specialist had set my brother and I down and she asked me if I would like to join the SuperSib! program. Hearing all of the great things this program does, it sounded so intriguing to me so of course I said, "YES!" Going to all the appointments made me think solely on my brother and what my family needed before I 'treated' myself. My thoughts had change from that day forward. I actually began to think, "Hey! I am important and I do have a vital part in this whole journey." In the next few days I got a colorfully decorated envelope and it said MY name on it; it wasn't for my little brother it was for me! I opened with extreme excitement and inside was a welcoming letter, in the next few days I got a trophy for being an awesome sibling. I began to feel special. I would come home everyday excited to go get the mail, I still do! I thank SuperSibs! for everything they have done for me. I would have still been thinking about Leukemia and doctors. SuperSibs! made sure that I was ALWAYS feeling special. I cannot be more grateful for this program and they deserve for someone else to be giving them an award.
When our oldest boys were 7 and 5, we welcomed our third son, Hansen, into our family. Just as we seemed to be finding our groove as a family of 5, Hansen was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina. He was only 11 months old at the time. Our world went into a tailspin. In addition to worrying about the health of Hansen, we were concerned about making sure our older boys were getting the emotional support that they needed. That's when a friend told us about SuperSibs. I wasn't sure what to expect from the program or how long it would take to hear back from them. Much to my delight, the cards, gifts and support starting rolling in right away. For me, as a mom, it was a dream! The kids would always get so excited to see their mail in the mailbox and very quickly learned to recognize the SuperSibs symbol!! Since this is a program for siblings, I thought it might be best to have my older sons tell you what they think of SuperSibs: "Hansen is doing well. Thanks for all you've given us; trophy's, courage beads, pillowcases! It makes me feel special!" Love, Karsten, age 8 "It's a good program because you get stuff. Some days after school it makes you feel better. The pillowcase or the trophy is probably my favorite. Or the shoe things. And the beads were pretty cool. It's all cool!" Brennyn, age 11 I hope that one day no one has to hear that their child has cancer. Until then, SuperSibs is a program that I would highly recommend to all of the siblings of kids with cancer.
This group has provided fantastic support for our whole family but most of all our Daughter Mary. Last fall her brother was diagnosed and our world was turned upside down. Both of our children grew up very fast, anyone who has faced a medical crisis knows the impact on everyone. Super Sibs has shown Mary how to deal with the whole range of emotions that go with having a sibling facing a major medical condition. They have connected her with other siblings and provided information for us as well as her school on how to support both kids. We will be forever greatful to this amazing organization for all they do! Mary still gets so excited whenever a new package arrives and her trophy has a place of honor in her room.
One day we were thrown the words "we're sorry, your daughter has cancer..." The lives we knew before that day were soon forgotten and we were tossed into the world of hospitals, tests, surgery, medications, and worry. As parents we were focused on our daughter and all else sadly took a backseat while in the midst of our journey. One very special person graciously took the backseat and never once complained. It was our son. Only being 9 yrs old at the time, he couldn't do much more than to love his sister through the pain and try to support her. It got rough on him because she was showered with gifts and attention and at his young age he just didn't understand why she got all the "goods" when he was trying so hard to be a good big brother. We soon came across SuperSis and quickly signed him up. Not long after we did, he began to recieve letters, cards, packages, bracelets, a trophy, books, key chains, t shirt, pillow case, just to name a few. His first words were "someone must know how hard I'm trying to be a good brother!" And yes, he was being rewarded and recognized for his bravery and courage through this difficult time for him. It's not east to watch your sibling hurt, cry in pain, and in our case go from a walking healthy 3 yr old one day to a pale, feeble sister who could no longer walk and he didn't understand why. Our son's life changed that day of diagnosis just like ours did, and although we did our best to make him feel included and important, we were not filling that need of his at that time and SuperSibs stepped in there and did just that. Our son is so proud to be a SuperSib and he wears his t shirt proudly and shares his experience and the news of SuperSibs with anyone who will listen. It made that big of an impact on a little boys life and he wants to tell the world. He feels important, loved, and encouraged each time he recieves something in the mail from SuperSibs! The impact this organization has on siblings of cancer patients is priceless!
SuperSibs is a great organization that helps not only siblings of children going through cancer, but the entire family. When my daughter was going through the hardest parts of her chemo and treatment, I could not be there for my son as much as I would have liked. Supersibs helped him to feel special and remembered. He got monthly packages from them with fun and inspiring things such as an award trophy for being a super brother to his sick little sister. He always enjoyed going to the mailbox and finding a package waiting for him! SuperSibs just recently threw a wonderful and inspriring luncheon for mothers of children with cancer, calling us the "quiet heroes" the luncheon was touching and was a venue for women with the same struggles to come together and share their experiences. Their website is a wonderful source for all family members to get more information. As a parent of a child who is now thankfully in remission, I have even made contact with this organization to see if I can join them and help in their efforts to ease the family pain that is expereienced when cancer hits home.