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Beautiful Bella and Linda – Making Spirits Bright

Beautiful Bella and Linda – Making Spirits Bright

Children (and their families) battling serious illnesses like cancer are often described as “warriors’ ‘ and “fighters” conjuring up images of slaying dragons and knockouts in a boxing ring. Though these are certainly powerful and appropriate metaphors for the big, bold and resilient people we meet at Friends of Karen, equally inspiring are those who radiate a quiet beauty- selfless and steadfast, without much fanfare. The support these families give each other is both ordinary and extraordinary. Resolute, loyal and most of all so very loving they help each other through the darkest days, especially during this very special time of year.

When you meet Bella, 8, chances are her younger sister Linda, 5, is not far behind. Theirs is a sisterly bond that is a joy to witness. Together- sometimes in joint sessions and sometimes individually, Bella and Linda work with Sibling Support Specialist, Siobhan, to help cope with feelings related to Bella’s diagnosis of ALL and connect through art making. Linda, the resident DJ chooses tunes to be played during the sessions- bopping and dancing along. Funkytown is her all time favorite. Bella is a soft spoken observer. She is kind, flexible and endlessly patient with her sister. If she was ever annoyed with her, you would never know it. You get the feeling that she truly understands and accepts her unconditionally and Linda feels that from her big sister. Bella gives her a sweet, knowing smile and Linda delights in being around her. Please read below for how these young sisters with strength of invisible steel bring bright light with their family and traditions this holiday season.

What makes your family special?

We love each other. Linda is funny- we play zombies and draw and make art together. Isabella, our cousin is kind of like our sister. We love her because she plays with us.

How does your family celebrate the holiday?

We celebrate all together with the family. First we relax and open our gifts, then we eat chicken, rice and beans. We listen to music and at midnight we eat grapes because my Grandma says it is good luck.

What helps you in hard/dark times?

Daddy helps me. He plays with me and takes care of me.

What kind of art do you like to do?

I like when we draw and paint. I like to show different ideas. I like to make squishies and portraits. Linda loves to make rainbows.

How does it feel when you make art?

I feel happy when I make art. It keeps me from feeling too bored or lonely or sad.

What advice would you give to another child with cancer?

Stay strong. It’s rough when you have to take medicine but holding your nose helps, using a squishy or eating a gummy bear too.