Sibling of the Month - February 2019
Lauren (on right) with Elijah and her family

Lauren is 13 years old.  Everyone in her family calls her La La. Her brother Elijah is 10.  He was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) in July of 2018.  Elijah has been hospitalized many times since diagnosis and Lauren spent a lot of time right there by his side.  Elijah recently finished treatment and had his port removed.  It has been a challenging journey, but through it all, Lauren says, she has remained positive and tells us all about it in this exclusive interview!

And now, Introducing, Lauren!

(Interviewed by Friends of Karen Sibling Specialist, Melinda Ferraraccio)

Tell us the coolest thing about you.

I’m really good at cooking. I like to help my mom in the kitchen and I especially like to make lasagna because it’s Elijah’s favorite.

Would you mind telling us a little bit about your brother Elijah?

He does really well in school and at basketball.  He’s really into fortnight and gaming.  The best thing about him is that I can tell him anything.  He’s a great secret keeper.  Sometimes at least!

What has been the most challenging thing for you about Elijah’s diagnosis and treatment?

It was kind of rough cuz my birthday is July 11th and Elijah was diagnosed on July 8th.  I had a nice birthday, but didn’t get to spend it with my mom because she was in the hospital with Elijah. My Aunt came to pick me up though and made it really special.  I didn’t really want to do anything before that because I didn’t want my mom or dad to have to think about me with everything that was happening with Elijah.

It sounds like you have a really amazing Aunt who stepped up to make sure you were not forgotten.  I’m glad she helped make sure you had a special 13th birthday! The diagnosis of a serious illness does make it hard for families to be together. Will you talk a little more about how the leukemia diagnosis has changed things in your family?

The hardest part was when Elijah was in the hospital.  It was hard waking up so early in the morning to go to the hospital. My sister and I would take turns when my mom and dad had to go to work so that Elijah was never ever left alone.  One time I even gave him his medicine.  Usually my mom does it, but I had watched her so many times and she couldn’t be there so I took over.  Elijah said I did a really good job. I liked going to the hospital though.  The nurses were really nice and easy to talk to.  I could ask them any questions I had. I would ask the nurses to explain to me what they were doing and why.  My sister and I also went to a group at the hospital.  We made slime! I made teal blue with beads.

Do your friends know that Elijah was diagnosed with AML?

Two of my closest friends know, but we don’t talk about it much. My school knows because Elijah and I went to the same school before he got sick.    

Can you share what you are most proud of?

How smart I am.  I just got my grades back and I made honors.  I really want to be a doctor, a surgeon.  I like the idea of helping people. I would take care of people and make them better again.

Is there a change you want to see in the world?

If I could change one thing I would try and create peace so people are safe.  I would just stop people from saying or doing mean things.

Do you have any wishes?

I wish I would discover a cure for cancer.  Not just a TREATMENT, but a CURE.  Actually not just for cancer, but for all diseases.  People shouldn’t have to suffer.

Is there any advice you would offer other siblings?

Keep your head up and never stop believing.

Thank you so much for giving us this exclusive interview Lauren! Many other siblings will have the opportunity to read your story and learn from you.  Keep up the great work of being an amazing sister, a great cook, and an honor student.  We are really proud to add you to our Sibling of the Month club!