We talk a lot about how childhood cancer affects the family. But what about the siblings, specifically? 2016 Ambassador Cheyenne’s mom opens up about how her 5-year-old son, Tristen, copes with his big sister’s childhood cancer journey, and how she and her husband balance their children’s needs.
It’s September. This is a big month for those of us in the childhood cancer community.
If you know anyone impacted by childhood cancer, I am sure your Facebook feed is blowing up with heart wrenching facts about how underfunded the research is and how rare childhood cancer ISN’T.
One thing that tends to be forgotten is how childhood cancer impacts the rest of the family. Most specifically, the siblings.
On National Sibling Day, meet Josh Aguilera, a brother and St. Baldrick’s shavee who made his sister’s dreams come true on one of the last nights of her life. Because what does a big brother do to make his sister happy? Get suited up in a tuxedo and ask her to prom, of course.
Janea, in the red dress, beams at the camera with her brother, Josh, on prom night.
Like many teenage girls, Honored Kid Janea Aguilera dreamt of her high school prom. What dress would she wear? Who would ask her to go? Did she have a shot at being crowned Prom Queen?
But when she was in eighth grade, Janea was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone.
Tina and Carlos’ childhood cancer journey didn’t begin with their son Phineas’ diagnosis in 2013. It began seven years earlier with their second child, Althea. On the 10th anniversary of Althea’s death, Tina shares how she continues to honor her daughter’s memory.
Althea and her mom.
December 1. I can feel it in my bones days before it arrives. Late fall, Thanksgiving leftovers gone, dead leaves, frost, Christmas coming, my daughter dying in my arms.
A fact of my life for 10 years now — my daughter Althea died of cancer when she was 2 years old.
Mateo and Mason spent their early years of brotherhood playing together and acting goofy. When Mason was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the two brothers stayed strong, bonded by their love for soccer and for each other. This weekend, Mateo, now 16, will be shaving his head in honor of his little brother. Mateo tells his story below.
Mason (right) hugging his big brother Mateo.
I was 6 years old that day in July 2006 when my parents told me we had to go home to the United States because my brother was sick and needed surgery.
We were medically evacuated from Ecuador because my almost-4-year-old brother, Mason, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It changed all our lives in an instant.
As the oldest of three siblings, Nina has always been protective of her two brothers. But when she found out her youngest brother, William, had childhood cancer, everything changed. Read Nina’s story of how her family came together to conquer childhood cancer.
The Doyle siblings (left to right): Thomas, Nina, and William.
I will never forget one day in September 2002. It was the day my youngest sibling, William, was diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), a rare form of lung cancer.
The words “your brother has cancer” still ring in my ears to this day.
Honored Kid Julian is not only Brayden’s big brother. He’s his hero. When Julian passed away from childhood cancer, 6-year-old Brayden was determined to shave for St. Baldrick’s in his brother’s memory and to keep their team, Julian’s Army, marching toward a cure. Read on for more about Julian’s journey, the boys’ special bond, and Brayden’s upcoming shave.
Brayden (left) and Julian smile with their arms around each other.
On Valentine’s Day, Brayden made his big brother Julian a valentine.
Last year, Chase’s mom, Ellie, wrote about the special relationship between Chase and his older brother, Aidan. Now she shares this sweet story of how these two boys touched by childhood cancer continue to support each other through life’s trials, big and small.
Chase (left) watches his big brother, Aidan, in the doctor’s office.
“OK, let’s just get your temperature and then you’ll be done.” The nurse turned from the blood pressure cuff attached to Aidan’s skinny arm and grabbed the thermometer, shoving it into a sanitary plastic sheath with a soft click.
“Open wide… under your tongue… now close.”
Since Honored Kid Addison’s diagnosis five years ago, raising awareness of childhood cancer and helping others has become a family enterprise. Read on to see how the Kleinhans family is making an impact.
The Kleinhans family from left to right: Kip, Sarah, Madelene and Addison.
It all started on Easter in 2010, after the Kleinhans family arrived home from church. They pulled into their driveway and opened the front door to find that the Easter bunny had visited. Addison’s mom, Sarah, remembered the scene.
“There’s candy and eggs everywhere and he sat down, right on the ground, right outside the car, and he said, ‘My legs are too tired. I can’t get them. Can sis get them for me?’” she recalled. “I said to my husband, ‘This is a problem.’”
On April 1, 2014, a group of rabbis shaved their heads in honor of Sam, who died from childhood cancer at the age of 8. Since then, 36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave have become one of the top fundraising events in St. Baldrick’s history, raising more than $1 million for children’s cancer research. Sam’s sister, Yael, decided to brave the shave herself — twice! She tells her story.
Yael is raising money to help find cures for kids like Sam. Help Yael reach her $7,200 goal >
My name is Yael Sommer. I am 7 years old. I am a fashionista.
On December 14, 2013, my brother died. His name was Samuel. His favorite movie was “How to Train Your Dragon,” and his favorite animal group was reptiles. I miss him.
My parents shaved their heads because of Sammy. They did it with a lot of their friends, and they did it for kids who have cancer. They raised a lot of money for kids with cancer.
My school was doing a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s, and some of Sammy’s friends and adults at school decided to shave their heads. My friend Talah and I decided it would be fun to shave our heads, too. We raised a lot of money for the doctors to get medicine for kids with cancer so that they don’t die.
It would have been Justin Miller’s 12th birthday today, if childhood cancer hadn’t taken his life in January 2014. His sister Kelly reflected on the time she was with him, and without him, and shares the wisdom she wants to pass on to others going through tough times.
Kelly and her brother Justin. Justin fought neuroblastoma for seven and a half years.
The past 16 months have been rough. Actually, that is an understatement.
Some days are better than others, and for a while, my days weren’t complete. I didn’t want to cry — I was afraid that if I started I wouldn’t stop. I kept everything in and that wasn’t the best for anyone.
I wanted to stay strong for everyone, because Justin was our rock. He was the one who kept everyone together, so I felt it was my job to prove to everyone that I was strong.
I have learned that you do not need to be strong. My brother died — it is OK to be sad.
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