Sibling Spotlight: Demario
In the height of the Covid pandemic, Demario’s then one-year-old brother, Kemario, diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia at birth, moved to New York with their mother, Sasha, to find the best treatment she could while Demario, age seven, remained in his home country of Jamaica with his father and extended family. Kemario underwent a bone marrow transplant and suffered repeated complications in its wake. As Sasha sat beside her youngest child throughout his treatment, Demario was unable to see his mother and brother for two years.
Comfortable with new forms of connecting with families, Friends of Karen undertook its first foray into international connections. Demario and Friends of Karen Sibling Support Specialist, Melissa, use WhatsApp to meet virtually. Not everyone expresses themselves best with their words. For those who find it hard to match their words to their feelings, like Demario, we must uncover other ways to help them find their voice. For Demario, painting has become the window to his thoughts and feelings. Demario reveals his favorite part of his time working together with Sibling Support Specialist, Melissa, “When I meet with her I can paint….and I can talk about anything.”
Demario misses his time with his mother and brother, telling us that he is happiest when his family is all together, “playing games and having fun. When I am with my family, I feel good.” He misses the touch of his little brother, noting that they both know the exact tickle spot to make the other laugh. It's not hard for Demario to get Kemario to laugh, “Kemario is always smiling.”