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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kyle's Kamp: Helping Super Strong Siblings Smile

I am one of three children - the middle child - sandwiched between an older brother and a younger sister.  I am enormously grateful for my siblings, especially as I get older.  I am increasingly aware of how they have affected the person that I am and the way I see the world.  Each of us occupy a different region in the country - one in the West, one in the South and one in the East.  And yet, these fifty states seem not so widespread to me when I know that those two - the original and first humans who I could call "my people" - are walking the same Earth, breathing the same air and sleeping under the same moon as am I each night.  There are times, fortunately or unfortunately, that I feel like my brother and sister are about as closely wrapped around me as my own skin.  I believe in some therapy sessions, this might be referred to as rampantly dangerous codependency.  :-)

In an article from last year titled "The Gift of Siblings", Frank Bruni wrote, "My siblings have certainly seen me at my worst, and I’ve seen them at theirs. No one has bolted. It’s as if we signed some contract long ago, before we were even aware of what we were getting into, and over time gained the wisdom to see that we hadn’t been duped. We’d been graced: with a center of gravity; with an audience that never averts its gaze and doesn’t stint on applause."

In the last year of volunteering at Kyle's Kamp, I have met not only children with cancer, but the brothers and sisters who fight alongside them.  They are younger and older, boys and girls.  Grant, Robert and Maddie.  Troy, Jake, Ian and Abby.  Ceci, Matthew and Cole.  All healthy, vibrant children.  All who desperately need our prayers and help.  In the midst of those meetings, I often think of the unique gift of my own siblings, the special way that our hearts are joined and the comfort I feel at the assumption that we will grow old, holding our family together even as generations come and go behind and in front of us. 

The Rupp Kids:  Gavin, Ian and Abby

The brothers and sisters of children fighting cancer cannot count on that comforting assumption.  In addition to the obvious distress that a sibling will feel if the patient dies, these children suffer significantly during the diagnosis and treatment of the cancer patient.


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