Supporting A Sibling With Cancer
Do you know a child on a cancer journey? As hard as it is for them, it also deeply touches their siblings as well and shapes all of their childhoods and lives. 19 year old Holden Lipton is the oldest of four siblings. 7 years ago, when his younger brother, Walker was just six years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Here is his advice to others.
Interview with Holden Lipton
19 year old Holden Lipton is the oldest of four siblings. Seven years ago, when his younger brother, Walker was just six years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Now, Holden is raising money and making a difference to help other families!
First, in his words:
My name is Holden Lipton and I am from New York City. I am 19 years old and I am on the baseball team at the University of Pennsylvania.
I am the Founder of the Hampton Open, a PickleBall fundraising event where all the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House New York provides “housing for pediatric cancer patients and their families in a strong, supportive, and caring environment which encourages and nurtures the development of child-to-child and parent-to-parent support systems”. This cause is incredibly important to my family and me as my brother, Walker, was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was six years old. He is now 13 years old and entering 8th grade.
Our first year in 2022 was a huge success. We raised over $150,000 for the Ronald McDonald House and had over 275 people attend the event. As well, we had 28 sponsors, who are on board in supporting us for this summer.
My Cancer Family: Why is it so important to you to support kids with cancer?
Holden: After my family went through the experience of my brother being diagnosed with, treated for, and beating cancer, I knew that I wanted the chance to provide comfort to families who were going through similar situations. I was inspired by the volunteers at Memorial Sloan Kettering who kept my brother active, engaged, and joyful throughout his treatment. Having the ability to impact so many families drives me to continue raising more awareness and money for cancer.
My Cancer Family: How do you raise money and how does it directly help others?
Holden: I founded the Hampton Open in 2022, which is a PickleBall fundraising event that benefits the Ronald McDonald House. In year 1, we raised $150,000 which will go to paying for meals, toiletries, and different accessories for the house. We are very excited about year 2!
My Cancer Family: How did you come up with the idea for your event?
Holden: The idea of a PickleBall Fundraising Event came to mind after playing myself. I was like “wow, this is an amazing sport that all individuals of different ages can play”. The Hampton Open is a combination of my love for pickleball and fundraising.
My Cancer Family: As the older brother of a survivor, can you share what it was like for you during your brother’s cancer journey?
Holden: During my brother’s cancer journey, I was thrown into a situation where I needed to rise up and be a role model for my sisters. It was difficult, but it taught me lessons that still resonate with me as I have gotten older.
My Cancer Family: Do you have 5 tips for other siblings of someone on a cancer journey on how to cope and get through it?
- Spend as much time with your family. While your parents might be in the hospital very often, when they are around try to spend as much quality time with them as you can.
- Be aware of your siblings. As the oldest sibling, I had to take on more responsibility when my brother was being treated for cancer. While this can be daunting as a teenager, I look back at that experience and appreciate all the life lessons I learned.
- Support yourself with great friends.
- Do the things you love to do. Baseball became an escape for me. I cherished my time playing baseball as it gave me a place where I could take my mind off everything going on.
- Support your sibling who is going through their cancer bout. Be understanding and thoughtful.
My Cancer Family: Do you have tips for how to be a supportive brother (or sister) to your brother when he was on his cancer journey?
- Take care of your siblings. With my parents not being around as much, I had to be a role model for my younger sisters.
- Be mindful of your younger siblings. Ask them how they are doing. Make sure to check in on them constantly.
- Do the things your brother or sister who is being treated for cancer loves to do. For example, my brother and I played a ton of Xbox during his cancer bout.
My Cancer Family: How will you continue to support cancer and families with children on a cancer journey?
Holden: The Hampton Open is an aspect of my life that will continue to grow to a larger scale event. As well, I am in talks with people from the Ronald McDonald House to create a collegiate board. The collegiate board will bring students from all different backgrounds with one goal in mind: to support and give opportunities to families who have children with cancer.