The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

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Sister's Expectations
Sister's Expectations

I have a beautiful, older sister Sarina, who has Down syndrome. Our parents raised me to take care of her, as she would never be able to care for herself. We are a year apart and were inseparable growing up. We would play a game she liked to call "I copy you now sister" where she would try to copy everything I did. I believe it helped self motivate her to learn. Sarina was always learning from me. When I moved away, at 17 years old, across the country to college, Sarina was not doing well. She was very ill and regressed at a steady rate. Her team of doctors decided she should move with me for 6 months to see how she would do. I took my sister to Las Vegas, where I lived when we were 21 and 22. We had no help, we learned from each other. Not long after she moved in, we were in a horrible car accident that injured both of us, but myself much more so. Sarina took that opportunity to take what I had taught her to care for herself and to care for me as well. Not only did she help me physically but emotionally she made me stronger, like herself. She started with helping me in the shower and to get dressed and then slowly moved into showing me how to be mentally and spiritually strong. She showed me with her unrelenting spirit and gentle ways that we would be alright as she instinctively knew we would be. We had many ups and downs out in the desert, but Sarina took that time to grow into an independent young woman with many abilities. I will forever be grateful for our journey of self discovery we took together. Our parents were wrong, the sister born with the job to care for the other was the one who needed the taking care of the most. Sarina and I lived together for 10 adventurous years. I know now, while I thought I was her teacher, I was actually her student. While I was teaching her life skills- she was teaching me life lessons. While I was teaching her to pronounce her words- she was teaching me to find mine. While I was giving her a new life- she was molding mine. While I was teaching her to live- she was teaching me to love. I will never forget our journey and have written a book about us to help people understand she does not have a disability, but a different ability. She may have some abilities taken from her due to having Down syndrome, but they were replaced with extraordinary abilities above and beyond what I posses. My hope is that someday everyone will see my sister and others as I do- a shining ray of light that can guide you through the darkest of days. All you have to do is listen not only with your ears but with your heart.




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Melody, United States, FL
6/30/2013 7:18:18 PM
Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing your sister with us

Jenna, Canada,
5/2/2013 10:12:30 PM
Sarina is such an inspiration! So are you! You are both heros! I am a young person who has developmental delays and I am very inspired by your story.

Nancy Wiley, United States, IN
4/17/2013 12:07:46 PM
Wonderful story!

Barbara Maddux, United States, NC
3/21/2013 8:24:26 PM
We met Gina and Sarina on a Buddy Cruise a couple of years ago. The "BEST" Book I have ever read. Our grand daughter, Adyson, was born with Down syndrome and has a younger sister, who will most likely fill the same shoes as Gina. It is our hope that she will learn from these two amazing sisters and we can't wait til they meet each other.

Kim, United States, NC
3/21/2013 5:58:38 PM
tears running down my face!

Jordan Ziegra, United States, NH
3/21/2013 5:45:20 PM
GINA!!! I don't think there are words to describe this :)

Dottie Desper, United States, RI
3/21/2013 5:26:59 PM
Two GREAT Sisters...You are both blessed to have each other....

Miranda Leddy, United States, TX
3/21/2013 4:57:50 PM
described ymtials

Cinda White, United States, MO
3/21/2013 4:00:17 PM
What a great story. And...how true.

Gwen Hamilton, United States, MO
3/21/2013 3:50:58 PM
WHAT A GREAT STORY! A TRUE SISTER!

karen clayton, United States, HI
3/21/2013 1:51:29 PM
Sarina and Gina are two remarkable sisters that share a love that is unbreakable. The book "For the Love" is a must read...

Janice Myers, Canada,
3/21/2013 11:15:32 AM
Beautiful words Gina!!! You are my inspiration!!!!!!

Schmoopie Mc Foley, United States, MA
3/21/2013 11:05:56 AM
A beautiful story about beautiful sisters. Love you Gina and Sarina!

Gail Marcus, United States, NC
3/21/2013 10:31:54 AM
Truly beautiful. Your words are strung together in such a way that the sum greatly outshines the parts! Thank you for sharing!

Daryl Saha, United States, TN
3/21/2013 9:38:36 AM
so beautifully written and expressive of the joys and lessons learned to make Gena want to 'copy sister'

Mary Moore, United States, MN
3/14/2013 2:28:17 PM
We can all learn alot when we listen with our hearts~ Gina and Sarina's story definitely touches my heart and teaches us all important lessons!

Erin, United States, TX
5/12/2011 11:38:56 PM
This made me cry! My older sister Brady has down syndrome I'm 16 and she is 17 and i don't know what I'd do without her. I love my sister will all of my heart. When we were younger she was always my "big" sister and always felt the need to protect

Jennifer Mathieson, United States, NH
1/27/2011 10:07:36 AM
Unconditional love at its purest! This story shows how that kind of love breeds strength, courage and kindness beyond measure and how it can break down barriers while opening windows to your soul

Paula Costa, United States, NH
1/27/2011 7:52:09 AM
Truly a beautiful story of two sisters faced with a multi-tude of challenges, that did not stop them because of the love and trust they have wtih each other. The title is perfect "For the Love" they share is unmeasurable, and they will always BELIEVE in

Mary Dawn Corey, United States, ME
1/27/2011 7:34:58 AM
A wonderful true story of two amazing sisters.

Mary Saunders, United States, MA
1/27/2011 6:50:30 AM
This is a truly heartwarming story that I think everyone should read. In so many different ways this story is an inspiration and can be an inspiration to a wide range of people. I loved it!

Mary Wasserman, United States, CA
1/27/2011 12:20:10 AM
We have really enjoyed reading your NDSS story and your published book "For the Love." You sisters are an inspiration to older moms like me who worry who will carry on in our places. Your book and your NDSS GREAT Story are must reads!

Dierdre Christine Estes, United States, NH
1/26/2011 11:29:21 PM
A truly inspirational, heart-felt, soul-stirring journey of love. A story that must be told.

Mary Wasserman, United States, CA
06/10/2012 23:55:11
Sarina and Gina embrace life and project joy to all of us. Their book is a must read!

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