This Week's Teen Flaunt: Samantha's Sister Has Amniotic Band Syndrome

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.22.22 PMIn this week's Teen Flaunt, "Ten Fingers Are Overrated," big sister Samantha Sheets reflects on what it's like growing up with a sibling who's not like other kids. AvaMarie Paisley Perrault was born three years ago, and before her birth, her family found out she had Amniotic Band Syndrome. Because of ABS, AvaMarie was born without her right arm.

Samantha recalls the family worrying about all the difficulties this would cause: "How is she going to get dressed or ride a bike? Would she be able to do anything by herself?"

Despite these initial concerns, AvaMarie is doing great. According to Samantha, "Ava can eat, get dressed and put her shoes on all by herself. My sister enjoys to play dress-up and catch." In fact, she embraces her differences — lovingly referring to her right arm as her "nub." She even invented her own form of a high-five: "If you ask her to give you nub, she will tap it on your hand and laugh."

Although AvaMarie has learned to cope with ABS, there are other kids who sometimes mock her. Samantha recalls a time at McDonald's where another child made fun of AvaMarie and acted like she was a monster. Instead of standing by idly, Samantha defended her sister and talked to the kid's guardian. She says, "Learning to accept that people are going to make fun of her and treat her different is something that I haven't done yet. I don't understand how her missing her right arm makes Ava an alien or a monster to other people."

Through all of this, Samantha has learned so much from her sister. She explains,

Ava seems to amaze me every day what she can do. Ava shows me that anything is possible and she has taught me to never give up even when the world is against you. Ten fingers really are overrated!

Sammi, Siblings, and StepfatherTo read the rest of Samantha's inspiring essay, head to the Teen Flaunt site! And for more Teen Flaunts that we love, check out these stories:

If you would like to have your teenager or student (age 13-18) write a “Teen Flaunt” that could potentially be published on the Teen Flaunt page, please submit the proposed essay (no longer than 700 words) to: meg@megzucker.com.

P.S. Did you know there’s a health and well-being magazine for teens that features inspiring stories every month? Learn more about Choices here, and check out our past pieces about Ashlyn, who feels no pain, and Georgia, who was born deaf.