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Living Proof: A Sibling Story

Caroline “Callie” is 15 years old freshman at Mason High School in Ohio. Her brother Will is 16 months older and has Smith-Magenis syndrome. Callie and Will are very close. Callie’s mom, Amy, refers to Will as Callie’s big little brother and says she has always looked out for him. 

“Callie has, unfortunately, had to miss out on things because of Will. As I’m sure all SMS parents have had to deal with, we leave places, events, etc. early… sometimes mid meltdown,” Amy says. “Sometimes we never make it there. She has been the most understanding, mature daughter and sister we could ever ask for. They argue, as is to be expected with any sibling relationship, but she gets him.”

Callie and her “big little brother,” Will

At the start of Callie’s freshman year, her first big English assignment was writing a short, personal, narrative. The challenge was to choose an event that could encapsulate themselves as a person, to show why they are who they are. 

Callie says about her essay “I don’t think anything has shaped me more than my brother. From an incredibly young age, I’ve been taught empathy and compassion all because of people who seemed to have none.” Callie tells the story about how one time a full-grown adult was mocking Will in a store. It wasn’t a kid or someone she knew. That moment in the store stood out to her among all of her memories so she wrote about the experience. She was tasked with writing three pieces showcasing three different events, but the man mocking her brother was the only one she considered turning in.

Later in the year, the same English teacher presented Callie’s class with a publishing opportunity. They would submit their pieces to the University of Iowa and their prestigious writing program. Of the pieces that were submitted, the committee selected a chosen few to be published in the anthology Living Proof.  

Living Proof is an anthology of high school writers across the country compiled by Publishing II Students at the University of Iowa. The poetry, prose, and photography captured within the pages of the book are meant to express pain, loss​, and love in a way that is both cathartic and vulnerable. There are pieces that are adventurous and lively, some are charged and sad, others are deep and contemplative. No matter the genre or subject, the pieces within the anthology are unapologetic in their existence; they are living proof.

Callie’s story was chosen and published in the anthology. You can read her story here.

Callie said “ I have always wanted to become a published author, so this seemed like a great first step.  When I was sent the letter explaining my narrative was selected, it was extremely gratifying knowing that people wouldn’t only be reading my story, but my family’s.”      




Do you have a sibling story you want to share with the PRISMS community? Remember, you can share your SMS story with us anytime by filling out our Share Your Story form!