Because siblings are cool and special

Today was an exciting day for Caitlyn. Today Claire from CCF came past and we decided to start Caitlyn with the Sibling Beads of Courage Programme.

Even though Caitlyn is so young still, the reality is that she is a sibling of an oncology child. She was only 3.5 months old when Bianca was diagnosed and has spent many hours in the beginning playing on the parent bed in Bianca's isolation room as we had to take care of Bianca. She had to try and nap during the day with nurses popping in at various times to check up on Bianca. She provided Bianca and us with smiles, hugs, kept things normal when it was everything but normal. All she has ever known is a sister who is sick, who often has to go to hospital, who has to take lots of medicines. She couldn't go to daycare until she was nearly 2 and was isolated many times when we had to keep Bianca away from other people. She's spent more than 100 days away from Bianca and Terence (as Terence often spent nights at the hospital when I spent days with Bianca) and despite all of that, she remains just such a super, fun kid who loves life. So when I found out they have a sibling programme, I asked Claire if we could include Caitlyn. She might not understand what the beads represent or their significance, but one day she might think back and wonder and it would be great if she has something to recognise the important part she played in our journey.

So Claire came armed with some very beautiful, cool beads.

The siblings get 25 different beads as well as beads spelling out their name, but unfortunately Claire did not have the letter beads with her, so we'll get that shortly. They start off with a teal coloured bead that represents strength, courage, hope which is what being a "SuperSib" is all about.

Today Caitlyn got to choose 4 beads and she had so much fun choosing and trying to string them:

So Caitlyn got to choose a fish, cat, polymer and an eye bead. They represent:

Fish: "compassion and kindness, abundance, happiness and beauty"
Cat: "playful, clever and independent"
Polymer Clay Beads: "a loved one or yourself as you help someone smile"
Eye Bead: "protection and luck"

And as a bonus she got to choose an Eye Bead for Bianca too.

This is such a cool programme. So often people forget about the siblings. People often only focus on the needs of the oncology child, but forgetting how important the siblings also are. I'm so pleased that there is a special programme for Caitlyn to participate in too.


Anonymous said...

I've often wondered what effect Bianca's illness must have had on Caitlyn, I think its wonderful shes included in this way!

Felicity said...

Hi there, I think that this is a fantastic idea. In years to come Caitlyn will be able to chat to Bianca about how she supported her in her own little way. Bianca will remember too that she was never alone or excluded. Well done!!! Looking forward to seeing how Caitlyn's beads grow. Lotsaluv P.S. There should be one for such valued parents too :-)