Emily Wallis,  —

Emily is a 22-year-old first-grade teacher. Her sister, Abby, has the rare neurodegenerative disease Sanfilippo syndrome, which has been coined a “childhood Alzheimer's." She is a Houston, Texas, native and enjoys all types of writing, spending time with her family and friends, and learning something new every day. In this column, she shares the ups and downs of caring for Abby.

Articles by Emily Wallis

Growing Closer with My Dad

My relationship with my dad has always been about tough love. He has very high expectations for me, we’re both quick-tempered, and we have plenty of disagreements. When I was younger, my dad was strict because he knew I was smart and should have behaved better. We had our share…

Sanfilippo Weighs on My Relationships

This week, I want to shed some light on a special group of people who carry me through this trying and emotional life as a Sanfilippo sibling: my friends. I didn’t know how my sister Abby’s diagnosis of Sanfilippo syndrome would affect my friendships. I was carrying…

How Sanfilippo Syndrome Has Shaped My Concept of Sisterhood

Earlier this year, I wrote a post called “Special Sisters.” For this week’s column, I want to expand on some of the things I said about my special relationship with my sister, Abby. Growing up with a special-needs sibling, as I’ve mentioned previously, was (and is) difficult. It’s easy…

My Faith Brought Me Comfort at a Turning Point in My Life

I have had many turning points in my life. I often divide my existence into “before” and “after” my mom’s and sister’s diagnoses, but I experienced another transformation after those milestones. Following the first diagnosis, my mom’s cancer went into remission, but the threat of metastasis loomed. I looked at…