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The Youngest Sister’s Story: “My Brother Had Cancer When I Was Five”

By Eileen Miozzi, age 8

It was hard when Vince was diagnosed with leukemia. He had to go to the hospital and live there, which meant less mommy and daddy time for me. They almost lived there, too. They would come home to see me, but they always had to go right back to take care of Vince. Sometimes he could be at home, and our whole family could be together. But then we couldn’t have friends over or make too much noise.

Even when he was home, Vince might end up back in the hospital. Sometimes he just went for a check up, and the doctor would say, “Sorry Vince, but you have to stay in the hospital again.” They gave him all kinds of medicine in shots and pills and in bags. The medicine made him sicker than the cancer did.

I was really little then and couldn’t stay by myself. Everyone else was in school. Every day after my preschool, a different mom would take me home to play at her house until my own mom came home. Many times, my grandma would pick me up from one of the moms. A lot of the moms had dogs and snacks and kids to play with. Mrs. Brady let me bake a dolphin birthday cake with her on my real birthday.

Sometimes, when I didn’t have school, a mom would pick me up at home so that my mom could help the nurses watch Vince. If Vince was doing okay, I got to come help my mom watch him. I got to take naps next to him and bring him snacks. The best part was when he would fall asleep, and my mom would take me to McDonalds, and we would sit next to a giant fish tank and eat.

We all felt bad for Vince because he loved football, and he couldn’t play it with cancer. He couldn’t go to games or play anything outdoors. I made him a lot of cards and pictures to cheer him up. He loves the Ronald Reagan pictures I drew for him.

Three years later, Vince became a cancer survivor! He was 16, and he could drive. He became the Young Man of the Year and did a long interview at our house. We got to play with Vince in our backyard and hug him when they did the interview. When it was done, we got to watch it, but I wasn’t in it.

I still hug Vince every day, anyway. We all hug him, but I hug him the most.

Click here to read the rest of the Miozzi family’s perspectives.

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