My Sister, Tawn, Is an Amazing Aunt and Friend

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by Joe MacDonald |

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Last week, my wife, Cazandra, my youngest son, Caeleb, and I attended the annual meeting of the Hemophilia Federation of America, held in San Antonio. The grassroots, national organization promotes the health and well-being of those who manage chronic bleeding disorders.

While attending the conference, we engaged with leading medical experts who continue to offer us critical information needed to help manage the care of our loved ones. We also renewed acquaintances with friends who struggle with the same issues regarding treatment. Over time, our bonds run deep and prove vital in our lives.

One of the more unique experiences regarding this year’s meeting was the presence of my sister, Tawn MacDonald. She never attended an annual meeting with my family before this year. Cazandra and I never extended the offer to come with us until now. We never invited other family members, except my mother, to participate in our hemophilia community. Perhaps we felt like managing my sons’ chronic bleeding disorders was a personal matter reserved for our nuclear family. Whatever the reason, I celebrated when she accepted my invitation to attend the event.

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Now, I must explain that my sister is the kind of aunt who should wear a superhero costume when dealing with her nephews. I know no other person who loves my boys more than my wife and me, except Tawn. From the moments of my boys’ births, Tawn bonded with them and became an active part of their lives. She celebrated their victories and walked with them in the darkest of times. I don’t know of another person on this planet whom I would want to have as an aunt to my sons. Her love is fantastic and incredibly infectious.

Tawn and I had some time to sit and chat during a break at the event. I asked her if I might interview her for my column to get her perspective on being the aunt of two boys with bleeding disorders. She agreed. I found it interesting that we launched into many other discussions much too lengthy for this column between answering questions.

Following are some of my questions and her responses.

JM: What was your first reaction when you heard that Julian [my oldest son] had hemophilia? What about Caeleb?

TM: I first wondered what hemophilia meant. Was it curable or life-threatening? Will he be OK? When Caeleb received his diagnosis, I did not worry as much because I learned from Julian’s experiences with the bleeding disorder.

When Caeleb started having more issues, how did you feel?

I was scared because things were so different, and I wondered how we could successfully treat him. Everything seemed very out of control.

What was it like to live in Houston while we lived in New Mexico during this rough time with Caeleb’s health issues?

Difficult because I felt helpless. I knew that you and Cazandra took care of him, but I could not give your family the support I wanted to offer as an aunt.

What is your favorite thing about Julian?

His singing voice and his positivity prove exceptional. I love the young man he became. There are many other things that I could list.

What is your favorite thing about Caeleb?

He is observant, caring, and compassionate.

If there is one thing that you want them to know, what would that be?

I want them to know how much I love them, my devotion to them, and how amazed I am by them. I look forward to seeing what my nephews become.


We finished the interview, and I told her that I continue to give thanks for the acts of love and generosity she continuously displays regarding my mighty young men. I wished her well and wanted her to know that she remains an integral part of my family’s life. I wanted to tell her how meaningful her relationship is to me, but I couldn’t find adequate words. All I can say is that I love her and give thanks that of all the people in the universe, I call her my sister and friend.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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