Age | 13
Photographer| Lisa Uesugi
My little sister, Ema, who is nine, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was two. She has gone through chemotherapy to help her get better. I feel like I have to be a mature adult when I’m around her because being this way helps me understand her and how others act around her. We love to sit and draw because this helps us become closer. I’m so proud of her because she is a fighter. I can remember being so worried every day when she was in the hospital. But through it all Ema still laughed and gave me that million-dollar smile. I have learned from Ema that the pain never lasts and to always look forward to a better day. “Ema, even though you might have had a disadvantage since the beginning, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up. You might not understand me through speech but the bond between us is strong and I hope that as we mature, our bond becomes unbreakable. You are my favorite -and only little sister – and I’m so thankful to have a little sis as special as you in my life.”
I am a good helper to my mom around the house and a very bossy older sister to my brothers.
I can be very loud when I get excited about something.
I will try to be more patient with my youngest brother because he doesn’t know any better.
Kehau’s life has always been about family. She never gets tired of playing with me. Even when she gets frustrated with me, she never shows it. We like to draw and watch TV together and she helps me change the channel to my shows even though she doesn’t want to watch them. She helps me hold the pencil the right way so my drawings come out nicer. I am so proud of my sister because of the way she carries herself and handles situations. She is my role model and I try to be like her in everyway. It is because of her love and support that I am who I am. I hope that Lani can do whatever she sets her heart to do. My dream is for her to be happy no matter where she is, or who she’s with. “Lani, even though life can set us back, don’t ever give up.”
Ana Likio for Ema | Mother