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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Day 27 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - Terri Talks More About the Sibling Experience!

It’s Day 27 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! Thanks for the feedback on the Sibling Experience in Childhood Cancer. While still thinking about those days, the Teddy Bear Story about a cancer kid and their siblings still resonates with me on how siblings can rate in the overall picture (unintentionally pushed aside?).

In The Focused Fight, I address the power of community often. There is a wide range of communities, but this time I am focused on what a tight community can do for siblings.

I believe the demise of the local papers has hurt a family in a community that could rely on neighborhood support. Unless we know our wide range of neighbors personally, we no longer get the information about families in need. Social media has taken over, which is not bad, but the local communities that rely on the local news about those we live by are no longer available. We must now be on the right app or social media platform on a particular day or hour to be in the know.

So, the need to share the Teddy Bear story.

A cancer-fighting family in the late 1990s struggled with their child patient and two siblings on all things cancer-related. Help was needed on all fronts. Their neighbors were great, as well as their extended families, for many of their wants and needs.

One day a kind supporter purchased the family three teddy bears to cheer up the brood. A beautiful act of kindness, right? It was. The two siblings were ecstatic to cuddle with their new soft plush teddy bears until they looked over and saw the sibling with cancer take out of the package their Teddy Bear, which was doubled the size of the siblings’ Teddy Bear.

The blood drained from those siblings’ faces.

Their parents will never forget those looks. It wasn’t that the siblings were ungrateful for their new Teddy Bears; it was the unevenness of the whole thing and difficult for them to “get over.”

I’m sure the person who came over thought they were doing the right thing, and I know they were but had no idea the family dynamics with siblings who stand in silence (shock?) or live in the shadows with their sick sibling and look for the attention they deserve.

When helping a family with similar-aged children, whether it’s childhood cancer or something else, it would be best to buy and give the exact size item, such as a Teddy Bear or other stuffed animal or toy, or better yet, a board game they could all enjoy.

I know from experience it all matters. Let’s Manufacture Sunshine for families living in uncertainty. They are all in the fight of their lives, with the siblings in the mix also living with fear and anxiety, trying to do the right thing to not put further stress on their parents or the cancer child. A delicate balance, for sure!




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