Susie and Heidi are part of Grapevine's young people's project.
Susie has kindly written this blog for us describing her great
relationship with her sister.
I am a teenager who would be viewed by many members of society
as a girl burdened by my sibling who 'suffers' from Down's
syndrome, however this is certainly not the case.
She's made me aware and opened my eyes to a completely different
and brilliant bunch of people. I've been introduced into a
community of people who are so accepting, patient and non
judgmental due to them having a loved one with special needs or
having special needs themselves.
She needs a little extra help when we go out, usually a 16 year
old wouldn't have to help her almost 18 year old sister count
money, cross roads or get the bus (which she can now do
independently). Helping her with these things doesn't affect me
negatively at all; I love that I can benefit Heidi in these ways.
To me it's my self-imposed, rather enjoyable duty as sibling, not
something that's expected by my parents.
My older sister has been far from a burden on my life, she
continually brings me happiness with her jokes (although after
they've been repeated 5 times they get a little boring!). Everyday
she inspires me to work hard as I know how hard she's worked to
beat the stereotype and get to where she is today; a young woman
who's been at mainstream school her whole life, done 3 GCSEs, 3
BTECs, a diploma in hair and beauty and will be starting
hairdressing college in September, with aspirations to leave home,
get married and run her own salon.
The one burden I feel with my sister is the way society views
people like her. I'm hurt by the stares Heidi gets when we go out,
and some comments I've had from people at school. It's also
annoying when people ask me questions such as 'what's her name'
when Heidi's right there. It shuts them up quick when she butts in
with 'I'm Heidi what's your name I love Justin Bieber do you like
him?' or something along those lines.
My life definitely isn't the same as it would be if Heidi didn't
have Down's syndrome, but it's certainly more interesting and
fulfilled this way. Yes I have to do more for her than I would
otherwise but it just makes her successes even more inspirational
for me and others. She drives me mad at times, but isn't that what
siblings are for?
I wouldn't have Heidi any other way, I love her and I am a very
proud and happy sibling of a lovely young woman who happens to have
an extra chromosome.
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