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Raising the Voices of Siblings…Sarah Tubbs

When Nicole Tubbs was born, she had a small part of her heart missing and was missing a chromosome. Throughout the past 23 years, Nicole has experienced countless doctor’s appointments and multiple open-heart surgeries. Her sister Sarah, who is five years older than her, has been there for her every step of the way. At a young age, Sarah became dedicated to being an advocate for her sister, and others who experience a disability. 

“Throughout school I always wanted to be the person who sat with the person who may not have anyone else. Since my sister and I are five years apart, we were never in school together – but I like to hope that if there was ever a situation where she felt alone, someone would be compassionate and want to sit and talk with her” Sarah said. She added that being an older sister has made her “protective” of Nicole and others who have gone through similar experiences. “It is common for older siblings to worry about their younger siblings – and those fears intensify when you have a younger sister with a disability. Our age difference may have allowed me to take on a parenting role in some ways,” she said while adding, “People can sometimes be judgmental about disabilities that are invisible.”

When Sarah was in college, she heard about the opportunity to participate in Miss New Hampshire and Miss America pageants. She said community service and participating in volunteer opportunities are two major aspects of these organizations. Sarah took this opportunity to educate others in our state and beyond about disability and participate in fundraisers and events with similar values as her. Participating in walks that support awareness about Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), volunteering at our annual Kids Carnival, and being an ambassador for Boston Children’s Hospital Miracle Network are just a few of the opportunities being a part of Miss New Hampshire/Miss America lead her to. 

“One time at Boston Children’s Hospital our group did a princess party and a mom came down and spoke to me about how her daughter was having an open heart surgery. I could relate to the feeling of pacing down the hallway and waiting for it to be over and just hoping that everything went well,” Sarah said. This experience also allowed her to connect with kids and ease some of the nerves they may be having about a surgery – or even an appointment. 

Throughout her career, Sarah has found ways to combine her passions – one of them being dance. Currently, she is a dance teacher in Massachusetts and hopes to someday return to teaching adaptive dance, something she did when she lived in New Hampshire. “As my passion for dance grew, I realized just how easily sports and inclusion come together. Adaptive dance classes for people with social, emotional, intellectual, and physical disabilities allows people to have fun, dance, and move,” she said while adding her sister attended many of Sarah’s adaptive classes. One event Sarah is especially proud of is when she hosted a day of dance at Timberlane Regional High School for people who experience a disability – something that allowed her to bring together dance and inclusion. 

“Having Nicole as a sister has allowed me to view people and life from a different perspective and accept people who may grow and learn differently. She has given me a greater appreciation for life,” Sarah said. She added, “she inspired me to help others and in turn, I hope I inspired her to get involved in the community, create relationships, and make an impact through volunteerism.”  

If you or someone you know is the sibling of someone with a disability – and would like to be interviewed and featured in a future “Raising the Voices of Siblings” story, reach out to Colby Dudal at cdudal@communitycrossroadsnh.org.  

 

 

 

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