Bethesda, Md. (WUSA) -- When one child in a family suffers a life-threatening accident or illness the others may feel left out. It isn't always an easy road for the "healthy sibling."
The staff at the National Institute of Health started a program held each year, that recognizes kids, who can sometimes feel overlooked
This summer, a lively group of youngsters put on gloves and scrubs for a medical odyssey through the massive Clinical Center at NIH.
They're the siblings of children getting cutting-edge treatment and on this day, they learn about analyzing lab samples. What it feels like inside an MRI machine and they visit what can be one of the most imposing places of all, the operating room.
The idea of this event is to de-mystify some of the procedures their sick brothers and sisters face.
Konner Koch tells us "I just learned a lot about what Karly has to go through all the time."
Konner's 17-year old sister Karly has a life-threatening genetic immune system disorder that was first identified at NIH; her family has been traveling from Indiana and staying at the Children's Inn for years.
"Finding a place like NIH and getting here gives you hope, because these folks are very positive. And they keep digging, they don't stop," Tracy Koch, Konner and Karly's dad tells us.
But as so much of a family's efforts center on making a sick child well, "healthy" siblings may feel unable to share their anxiety or struggle.
Lori Wiener, PhD head of psycho-social support and research in pediatrics oncology at the National Cancer Institute shares, "Once a child is diagnosed with something chronic or life-threatening, every family member is affected."
Lori also says it's important to include the healthy children in discussions about diagnosis and treatment, instead of shielding them from information. She tells parents to let the school know what's happening, and ask neighbors or friends to help make sure the healthy siblings don't miss important events while parents are at the hospital.
"And perhaps the most important of all is to ask the healthy child...how are you doing? How are doing with all of this," she says.