What’s the role of a healthy sibling when it feels like the whole world revolves around the sick brother or sister? Inn founder and trustee Dr. Lori Wiener, who works for the National Cancer Institute, has an answer: being a “Super Sib.”
To honor and celebrate the important role healthy siblings play in their families’ lives, Wiener launched the annual NIH and Children’s Inn Sibling Day several years ago. Due to the pandemic, this year’s Sibling Day looked different from any other—but it also made it possible for 25 “Super Sibs”—more than ever before—to participate.
Wiener, the co-director of the Behavioral Health Core and head of the Psychosocial Support and Research Program at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, works closely with fellow NCI social workers and Children’s Inn staff to organize the annual celebratory day.
Sibling Day activities give healthy siblings a look at some of the medical procedures their sick brothers or sisters typically undergo and also usually include a song-making session and art projects. The activities are not only fun but also help explore and celebrate the important contributions of healthy siblings.
Taking place via video conferencing technology to meet stringent safety requirements due to the pandemic, this year’s Sibling Day program was shortened to two hours and two main activities. One demonstrated and explained standard medical procedures many children go through as part of clinical research studies. An art activity helped children explore their feelings and articulate what “Super Sibs” bring to the table.
As always, Sibling Day concluded with an awards ceremony and praise from Wiener: “You are a ‘Super Sib,’” Wiener said. “So you will never forget how special and important you are in your family. You are all kind and smart and important. Congratulations, ‘Super Sibs!’”
Being publicly recognized and seeing their feelings validated made “Super Sibs” feel truly super. But they also appreciated other, more ordinary aspects about Sibling Day 2020, including “the chance to talk to people,” “sharing what we’re proud of” and “meeting people”—especially other “Super Sibs.”
Thanks for helping make special activities like these happen during the coronavirus pandemic by supporting The Children’s Inn. Thanks to Merck’s matching gift challenge, your financial support can bring twice as much fun to children served by The Inn by matching your gift dollar for dollar. Simply make a donation here, and it will be matched to go twice as far!