August 29, 2017: Emily’s Entourage

7 Months.

Though the 7 month mark since we lost our Brandon was 3 days ago, I am writing today to celebrate my incredible older sister and best friend, Hollie, on her 33rd birthday.

Despite how cheated I feel to have lost Brandon at such a young age, I am simultaneously grateful to have such a selfless and supportive sister by my side to brave this most difficult time. As Hollie eloquently told me in her eulogy 7 months ago:

“…step by step we will figure out the new normal together. We’ve never had to face anything alone, and that’s the way it will remain. So while it may just be the two of us now, we will hold hands and move forward like we always do and carry Brandon in our hearts wherever we go.”

This has always been our way. Throughout the ups and downs of life, Hollie has been a constant source of strength and taught me what it means to be resilient. She’s the ultimate role model, not only as a sister, but as a daughter, wife, parent, and friend.

Hollie and I both know in our hearts that it was Brandon who made our relationship as unbreakable as it is today. Like most sisters, we had our fair share of arguments growing up, but through and through we continue to hold each other up when we need it the most, and as she stated, continue to carry Brandon with us.

This month, I’ve chosen to recognize Emily’s Entourage as an organization started by a friend, Emily, whose strong sibling bond mirrors that of mine with Hollie and Brandon.

While Emily and I never overlapped at Penn, I’ve gotten to know her through two members of my sorority lineage, Amy and Beth.

As a baby, Emily was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Similar to my own parents’ experience raising Brandon, Emily’s parents were the ultimate advocates maximizing the quality of Emily’s life despite her diagnosis.

Emily and her siblings

Emily also has 3 siblings who she is incredibly close with. On each of their birthdays or other milestones, I know I can expect a warm heartfelt Facebook post from Emily. Through one of her posts, I was impressed to learn that her younger sister, Julia, will be speaking next month at Stanford’s MedX on navigating the medical system as the twin of a medically fragile sister.

Emily’s Entourage was started by Emily and her family to raise money and awareness to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. As their mission states: “Nearly 70,000 people worldwide with CF are waiting with bated breath for life-saving breakthroughs. We’re mobilizing friends, families, businesses and communities to join Emily’s Entourage on our quest for new treatments and a cure.”

Click here to join me in making a donation or simply learn about this incredible organization.