03/25/2013 05:38 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

For My Brother

My name is Alyssa Silva and I am a 22-year-old aspiring writer. When I was five-months- old, I was diagnosed with a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is a debilitating disease that causes severe muscle weakness and affects my overall physical well-being. However, this doesn't stop me from living my life to its fullest. I started a blog in hopes of spreading awareness on my disease by sharing my personal stories with everyone. I hope that my posts will educate others on what living with this disease is like and inspire those who find themselves in difficult situations.

I'd like to dedicate this post to someone who has always believed in me throughout the years. Whether I'm sick in the hospital, need someone to take me to school, or just want someone to talk to, this person is there for me no matter the circumstance. I'm not sure what I did to deserve such a special guy, but I'm so grateful for having him in my life. This one goes out to my best friend and brother, Adam.

By all means, Adam and I have your typical older brother/little sister relationship. We laugh, we argue, we get along, we fight; you know -- the usual sibling "stuff." More often than not, Adam finds some clever way to poke fun at me, and I always find myself using a less-than-witty remark as my comeback. It's a little annoying, but hey, that's what big brothers are for, right? Nevertheless, in addition to the traditional relationship the two of us share, Adam has given me nothing but the love and strength I need to move forward.


Just the other day my mom was telling me a story from when Adam and I were very young. It was right after Christmas and I was extremely sick, which only meant one thing: My parents were packing up our necessities and getting ready for a three-week hospital stay. My mom walked into my brother's room around 11 o'clock at night, hours after she had tucked him in, and found him in the corner crying. When asking what was wrong, Adam replied with, "I don't want my baby sister to go to the hospital. I want Santa to take all my presents back if that means making her all better. I just want my sister to stay home. That's all I want for Christmas!"

I couldn't help but chuckle when I first heard this story. Because, seriously, how cute is that? Then, I realized Adam has been this way all along. Okay, so maybe we haven't found him in a corner crying and asking Santa to take his toys back since that night. But, to this day, Adam has always done everything in his power to make sure I'm happy and healthy. From holding my hand during those daunting doctors' appointments to canceling his plans to take care of me, he has given me every reason to believe that he really is the best brother ever.

About 12 years ago, the tables were turned and for the first time in my life, I was worried sick over Adam. One September afternoon, I was receiving an albuterol treatment to keep my lungs expanded and free from infection, something I used to do on a daily basis. Suddenly, there was a knock at our door and my mom rushed to open it. It was a police officer to tell my mom Adam had been hit by a truck while riding his bike. The prognosis didn't look too promising, and the police officer escorted my mom to the hospital before it was going to be too late.

The first three days Adam was on life support, and the doctors had very little hope he would pull through. He had fractured his femur and skull in several places and had internal bleeding. As hard as it was, my parents were told to say their goodbyes in case he wouldn't make it through the night. Although the news was grim, we all held on to our strong faith in hopes of Adam seeing better days. Night after night he fought for his life, and slowly began getting stronger as time progressed. He ended up spending two weeks in the hospital and a few years gaining his stamina back. Adam was one of the lucky ones, and I can't even begin to think about what my life would have been like without him.

Adam, you're braver than most people I know. Not only have you gone through your own hardships, but you have always stayed by my side through my adversities as well. You've showed me what it means to have courage, especially during those days when giving up seems like the only option. Thank you for doing all that you do to help mom and dad out with my needs. Thank you for encouraging me to start this blog. And, most importantly, thank you for being my number one fan.


This post originally appeared on Alyssa's WordPress blog. To read more of her work, click here.