From the moment Libby found out that she was going to be a big sister, something in her changed – a sense of purpose awakened. She was so proud and excited. It was an instant connection between Libby and her new brother.
Libby was barely three years old when her little brother was diagnosed with cancer and taken from her to live in the hospital. She was just five when he relapsed and the cancer returned, and again, he was taken from her. Her heart was broken. Her natural defense mechanism kicked in and she wrote him off, becoming emotionally withdrawn and telling us that Gabriel would die before her next birthday.
How do you even respond to that? As parents, we were already overwhelmed. Dealing with Gabriel and his cancer left us little time or energy to address our daughter’s needs, but it was clear she needed help, we all did.
Chai Lifeline stepped in to ease the burden and help our sweet little girl. Chai Lifeline case workers used a sibling-focused approach that brought her into a circle of care and empowered our daughter to explore her feelings safely. Through various after-school programs, art therapy, the Big Siblings program, and weekend activities, she had the runway she needed to heal. It also gave our family the capacity to care for her little brother.
Amid a childhood illness, it’s normal to be hyper-focused on getting your sick child well, but what about the ill child’s siblings? As a mother, I felt helpless that I couldn’t give my daughter what she needed the most.
We are forever connected to Chai Lifeline for how they helped us. We will always feel eternally grateful Chai Lifeline was there to do what needed to be done for Libby, our entire family and other families like ours. Today, Libby is re-committed to her role as a big sister and she’s 100% invested in Gabriel’s future. Not only was he cured from cancer, she was healed from her trauma and we have Chai Lifeline and its amazing army of volunteers to thank for it.