by Trish Adkins
There is a special bond that siblings have with one another. You love each other. You fight with each other. But no matter what, you are there for each other.
When a childhood cancer diagnosis enters the picture, healthy siblings are impacted right alongside their brother or sister battling cancer. It is a scary time—but it is also a time when those bonds strengthen and grow.
Siblings hold hands during treatment. They plan lemonade stands to help other kids just like their brother or sister get better. They do regular things like cuddle for a movie night or play board games. They do extraordinary things like have a sleepover in a hospital room or come with them to doctor appointments.
These three sets of siblings inspire us to love more than we thought possible. Meet the SuperSibs and childhood cancer heroes who show their love for each other, every day.
Holding Each Other: Eden and Mya
Eden loves to dance. Her little sister, Mya, loves gymnastics. Together, they support each other at competitions and practices.
When Eden was 10 years old, she suddenly could not dance or even walk due to unbearable leg pain. The cause was a rare tumor which required immediate treatment. Eden spent weeks recovering from treatments that left her physically weak. Even without the leg pain—she could not dance or walk on her own. Luckily, her sister Mya was there to hold her tight and be her legs.
Mya would carry her to the dinner table. She spent nights sleeping with Eden at the hospital and never left her sister’s side. Eden returned the favor and became Mya’s gymnastic team cheerleader. Eden would be on the floor at practices encouraging her sister through her routines.
Their mom, Shannon, said "Eden would need something and Mya would run and get it. I can’t say that there weren't times where Mya was tired of doing that, but she did it with a good attitude and she was always willing to help while Eden couldn't walk."
Best Friends: Gabby and CJ
Gabby’s younger brother CJ was her best friend. When CJ was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, Gabby had to watch him go through treatment, sickness and hospitalization.
“The only thing I wanted to do was take his pain away,” recalls Gabby.
The best days of the week were when she could spend time with CJ at the hospital—hanging out, watching movies, playing games and just being together.
“When we were together, it was like nothing was wrong,” she says.
CJ was Gabby’s only sibling and losing him was the hardest thing Gabby will ever go through. But Gabby did not lose her memories and the love that she shared with her best friend. Today, she continues to share that love as an Ambassador for ALSF to help children and to help her remember her brother.
Toby, who is just 3 years old, is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Toby spends days at the hospital and Silas insists on being there when he can. He goes to Toby’s doctor appointments (and asks the doctor questions) and spends hours cuddled in the hospital bed with Toby watching movies. When he has to leave, Silas insists that he can’t:
“I have to be with my brother, he needs me!” he says.
At home, Silas is just as supportive, helping Toby take his medicine and spending regular play time with him. The duo also hosted their first ALSF lemonade stand in July 2018 and raised over $700 for childhood cancer research—using their amazing love for each other to help other kids, too.
"I'm going to be a doctor to help people not be sick, and then I'm going to be a superhero!" said Silas.
At Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, we know that childhood cancer affects the whole family, not only the child who receives the diagnosis. Brothers and sisters of cancer patients often face fear, anxiety, changes in daily routines, worry, grief and even jealousy as their family is thrown into the emotional turmoil of managing a child’s cancer treatment. SuperSibs, a program of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, is dedicated to comforting, encouraging, and empowering siblings during their family’s battle against childhood cancer, so these children and teens can face the future with courage and hope. Learn more here.