Family Reunited: Cheryl's Sister and Their Story

By Sara Porcaro | February 12, 2019

The rush of our day-to-day lives is a whirlwind of activity: working towards our goals, spending time with friends, enjoying our hobbies, and finding new communities to join. But that whirlwind can take us far from the starting point of our childhood. People move, people change, and it's easy to lose contact with our loved ones in the gust. Still, it's never too late to reach out and reconnect with friends and family--just ask Cheryl, who recently reunited with her sister Charlene!

Cheryl and Charlene live apart, with Cheryl participating in a Shared Living Arrangement (SLA) with SLA Service Coordinator Cara Riley. The sisters once kept in touch through their participation in Special Olympics events; however, the circumstances of life--the distance, the busy schedules, and Charlene stopping her Special Olympics involvement--meant that the two sisters slowly drifted apart.

It was over dinner one night, not long after Cheryl had moved in with the Riley family, that she brought up wanting to see her sister again. Cara notes, "[Cheryl] asked how one would find their sister; she told us she hopes her sister is still in RI. Following dinner, my husband and I both jumped on Google and started looking [for Charlene]."

From there started the journey of finding Cheryl's sister--one where Cara worked to gather contact information, get in touch with Charlene's service providers, and finally set up a date to get the two back together. Once they knew Charlene was still in Rhode Island, Cara told Cheryl; "She was ecstatic," says Cara.

Cheryl, who had long looked forward to hearing about her sister and getting back in touch, admitted that she was also a little nervous about it, since they'd been apart for so long. But on the day of their reunion, Cheryl says, "Cara surprised me. She told me I had a doctor's appointment, but when we went to a Dunkin' Donuts instead and I saw Charlene, I was so happy that I cried."

"The resemblance is absolutely uncanny, right down to the same eye color and smile," says Cara, who joined Cheryl and Charlene for coffee. "They even share favorite colors and fashion choices."

With so much time apart, the sisters had much to catch up on while they settled into the reunion. Cheryl and Charlene discussed all kinds of topics over coffee and donut holes, such as childhood memories, their recent experiences, and more. On top of that, they discovered a shared goal: going to Newport for vacation.

"We like spending time together, so going to Newport with Charlene would be really nice," says Cheryl with a smile. "But after that meeting, we've started talking on the phone every week. I hope we stay in touch from here on."

No matter where life takes us, it's never too late to reconnect with the ones we love! Cheryl and Charlene, after some time apart, are picking up where they left off one day at a time. For Cheryl, family is important--and thanks to the efforts of her and her supporters, she makes sure she keeps her family close. Here's to a great future for Cheryl and Charlene!