30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2023
This story is from the perspective of me, Preston. I am the second oldest brother in my family, and I am an upcoming Senior at Nazareth Area High School. The hardest part about being a family member of a cancer patient is knowing anything can happen. You hear stories of families who lose children and people your own age dying from cancer. When I was around 12 or 13, I found out my sister Aurora was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For earlier context, I had been staying at my Grandma’s and Aunt’s, switching out every few days because the doctors had thought Aurora had mumps. My little sister Chloe was with my other grandma staying at her house. When I found out about Aurora’s diagnosis, I was at my Aunt’s house, and we took a trip to the hospital to visit her. When inside I was just numb. I’ve always felt queasy seeing people with tubes in them. The look of an IV gives shivers down my spine. Just being around people with injuries or in the hospital makes me feel nauseous. As I sat down on the chairs in the room, I was introduced to a lady named Kris. Kris is a part of PCFLV, and she showed me that the process of learning to live with a cancer sibling isn’t as bad as people say. All I remember mostly from that day at the hospital was getting in my Aunt’s car and just letting all my feelings out. I cried in anger, I wailed, I bawled my eyes out, whatever you would like to say to describe it. I felt destroyed, like it was a judgment day as thought I had to pay for something I had done by my sister being the vessel.
Although everyone was always busy, I tried to go to Aurora’s clinic when I could. It hurt to see kids my age losing their hair and going through chemotherapy. Throughout the years PCFLV had been very influential with giving us all sorts of gifts and opportunities. During Christmas time, we would have dinner with Santa and get presents as well as different events throughout the winter. PCFLV has always been there for my family with emotional support and giving gift cards. They always gave cards for birthdays as well as smaller holidays like Valentine’s Day. Ever since Aurora had gotten cancer, everything had just been her. It felt as though the identity of my family was just Aurora. I understand it may sound selfish, but it just felt like no attention was brought towards Chloe and me. My Mom and Dad tried to give me the most attention they could, but it just didn’t feel enough with everything that Aurora was going through with treatment and appointments, interviews, etc. I enjoyed everything that was given by PCFLV and all the families that helped provide for us, but I felt emotionally numb and that I couldn’t really amount to anything in comparison to my cancer-surviving sister. Now with that I don’t mean anything grim. I’m just saying it felt like even though I was older and more involved with clubs and groups, the attention was off. I love Aurora and I love the family that I have and I wouldn’t trade any of that ever. Recently I’ve been more active in my school with groups and higher up classes. Slowly but surely, I feel like everything is turning up for me and my family. It never matters what you have but what you truly make of it.
Written by Aurora’s brother, Preston
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip