The Value of Being Part of the Sibling Leadership Network

Photos of three men, two dressed in festive Christmas outfits

by Nora Handler

This post, written last year, is being shared in honor of Nora’s brother, Patrick, who passed away last year. We celebrate him and celebrate the bond between Nora and her siblings.

I am one of eight siblings. All three of my brothers have intellectual disabilities. They were all living with our mom when she passed away. My sister Margaret and I had been worried for years about how to support our brothers after our parents where gone. We had never met any other siblings like us and were not included in future planning for our siblings. At a time of crisis and grief we made plans on how to support and care for our brothers. It is never easy to deal with the loss of parents but future planning would have made a huge difference for our family. Having the support, information and resources of the Sibling Leadership Network would have made life easier for all of my siblings.

My sister actually gave up her job as a teacher to care for my brothers and this has impacted her in many ways. We made mistakes that we could have avoided if we had been connected to other siblings before we lost our mom. The SLN advocated with other national disability groups for the U.S. Department of Labor to update their guidance on the Family and Medical Leave Act related to when siblings are covered by the law. This could have saved my sister’s career. This is just one example of the importance of the SLN and how it can significantly improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

I am so glad to now be part of the SLN and it has helped me and my siblings even after all that has happened. I want other siblings to avoid some of the struggles we went through, so I encourage siblings to get connected to the SLN for support and information.


Today, we ask you to consider making a holiday donation to support the work of the Sibling Leadership Network. Any donation, large or small, will make a difference in the lives of siblings with disabilities.

Giving is easy! We have a PayPal giving page, which you can access here: http://siblingleadership.org/get-involved/donate-now/

Additionally, we accept checks made out to the Sibling Leadership Network. Please mail them to our office at:
Sibling Leadership Network
332 S. Michigan Ave, Ste 1032 – S240
Chicago, IL 60604-4434

You can support us while you shop for the holidays through the Amazon Smile program. Here’s how:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201365360

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