A Special Sibling Journey
26 Aug 2011
We would like to acknowledge the role siblings play and share with you a story about a very cool big sister.
Jazzie Rossiter (11) lives in Omokoroa just North of Tauranga and in the past two years has lived with both the diagnosis in June 2009 of her little brother Dylan with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, followed by the news in February, 2010. her best friend Frannie Taylor has Osteosarcoma.
Jazzie has been there for both brother (4), and friend (11), throughout the journey that has followed and has been amazingly selfless and compassionate.
The first thing she did when she got news of Frannie’s cancer was to offer to shave her head so that her friend wouldn’t stand out as much alone at school. Jazzie’s Mum Coral says she doesn’t think Frannie thought it would really happen originally, but it did and to top it off, Jazzie went on to raise an incredible $4,300 for Child Cancer through funrazor.
Initially it was about helping Frannie not feel different, but then Jazzie got going with fundraising online , approaching businesses, a golf club, Omokoroa Point School and door knocking to raise a fantastic amount for her December 3rd head shave.
In addition to the fundraising, Jazzie has been a rock at home.
“It hasn’t just been Dylan and Frannie’s journey, it has been Jazzie’s too – and I make sure I tell people that,” says Coral. “She has been there holding Dylan’s hand through the injections and the needles, waited for him outside theatre…”
Jazzie has spent both of her last two birthdays at Starship Hospital in Auckland with both Dylan and Frannie. The first time she hadn’t seen her mother for five weeks and the second time she chose to spend it at Frannie’s bedside, so she could share the day with her. All she wanted for her birthday was to spend it with her friend. For the first birthday Auckland Family Support Manager at the time Donna Fitzgibbon brought Jazzie a cake and some gifts to the hospital to help her feel special and for the second Frannie’s mother Kim, made a cake.
Through her experiences with her brother Jazzie has picked up useful knowledge to help Frannie. “She was at Frannie’s house one day when Frannie spiked a temperature. As soon as Jazzie found out it was 38.5 she started running from room to room packing stuff – she knew it was time to go to hospital,” Coral says.
“Jazzie does get scared for Dylan and Frannie, but she is old enough to know if we are keeping things from her and to understand what is happening without going into too much detail. She knows all about Dylan’s medication and what terms like ‘neutropenia’ mean and has been surprisingly accepting,” she says.
Jazzie has enjoyed receiving Sibling Beads from Tauranga Family Support Coordinator Debbie Hockly. She has most of them with a couple of extra for hair loss and being a good friend and has them hanging on her bedroom door.
“She knows what all of Dylan’s beads mean and explains them all but it is also nice for her to have something tangible herself to show the journey she has gone through,” says Coral.
Dylan is now on maintenance treatment and Frannie is up and walking but still healing. Neither could ask for a better sister or friend in the days ahead.
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