Why National Siblings Day is Important By Nathan Grant

On April 10, brothers and sisters around the country celebrate National Siblings Day to honor the special bond that exists between siblings. On this day, siblings spend time with each other and reflect on memories shared together. Many siblings also post stories, pictures, and videos on social media using the hashtag #NationalSiblingsDay.

National Siblings Day was created by native New Yorker, Claudia Evart, in 1995. According to the Siblings Day Foundation, Evart created National Siblings Day in honor of her siblings, Alan and Lisette, who passed away early in life in separate accidents (https://siblingsday.org/about-us). Since its inception, National Siblings Day has been acknowledged by three US Presidents and has been observed in several other countries, too.

National Siblings Day is important to me because it gives me a chance to celebrate the special bond I share with my twin brother Nik. It also presents an opportunity to provide much-needed support to a group of people who are frequently overlooked: siblings who have brothers and sisters with chronic illnesses and disabilities. However, National Siblings Day has not received the attention it deserves and more awareness is needed to recognize the importance of this day.

My twin brother Nik is my biggest inspiration. Nik is 21 years old and has a rare, genetic condition called Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) II, also known as Hunter syndrome. Because of his condition, Nik is nonverbal and struggles with chronic pain. He needs continual care and supervision, which comes mostly from our family. He also needs frequent assistance from health care professionals.

I try to help my brother whenever I can. At home, I help my brother with his personal care. I assist with bathing and toileting. I also help prepare my brother’s meals and check that he takes his medications. In addition, I also accompany my brother to many of his medical appointments. By attending these appointments, I have been able to learn more about my brother’s condition and have found information that has helped me provide better care for my brother at home.

While providing care for my brother is challenging, the majority of our time together is positive and fulfilling. We love to hang out together. We enjoy going out to restaurants and going for walks in our neighborhood. Despite the numerous symptoms that come with his condition, my brother smiles and laughs every day. He shows me the importance of being positive. He shows me what it means to enjoy every moment. While these are lessons that I am only beginning to learn, I am glad to have my brother as my teacher and my inspiration.

On National Siblings Day, I am celebrating my twin brother Nik. My relationship with Nik has transformed my life. Because of Nik, I have learned how to be patient and kind. I have learned how to be a friend, a caregiver, a supporter, a protector, and a brother. Along with teaching me valuable life lessons, my brother has also inspired many of my passions and interests. I am now a junior in college, where I am pursuing a major in biology and a minor in anthropology. In the future, I hope to work in the field of medicine where I can further help my brother and others like him. My brother has impacted my life in countless ways and I am so thankful for the experiences that we share together.

Given the impact that siblings have on each other’s lives, it is important to recognize and celebrate siblings. Siblings often have the longest relationships of their lives together and can significantly influence one another. However, National Siblings Day is not a federally recognized day and many people do not know about it. Whereas Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are federal observances that have received widespread recognition, National Siblings Day has not received this level of attention (https://siblingsday.org/about-us). I believe National Siblings Day must receive more recognition and support from families across the country and from the government. Recognizing National Siblings Day gives siblings like me an opportunity to officially honor the unique and life-changing bonds we share with our brothers and sisters.

In addition to increasing the overall awareness of National Siblings Day, we must also do more on this day to specifically recognize the unique experiences and needs of siblings who have brothers and sisters with chronic illnesses and disabilities.

National Siblings Day gives me a chance to celebrate the life-changing bond I share with my twin brother Nik and it also gives me an opportunity to recognize and support other siblings like me. It presents an unprecedented opportunity to draw attention to all siblings, including those who have brothers and sisters with illnesses and disabilities. By honoring and celebrating the sibling bond on National Siblings Day, I believe we all can shine a bright light on the unique experiences of siblings and provide support both in the near-term and long run to these unsung heroes.

 

 

Author Bio: Nathan Grant is a junior at Harvard College and the President and Founder of Siblings with a Mission, an organization dedicated to supporting siblings who have brothers and sisters with illnesses and disabilities. Nathan’s inspiration comes from his twin brother, Nik.

 

This Siblings Flaunt was published in partnership with the fabulously flaunting organization Siblings with a Mission

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