I agree. The best essays are SINCERE and PERSONAL. Obviously, you don't want to come across as someone with "issues," but I think these are all very relevant and memorable illustrations of how you have overcome adversity. Use them to show your inner strength, your persistence, your courage, and your compassion!
My main piece of advice is to make sure to keep the essay focused on YOU as much as possible. Describing your brother's situation (for example) will be important to describing your own life, but at the end of the day, make sure that it's still an essay about you, and not him.
BTW, don't feel bad... My family has someone like that, too (a cousin), and I get upset just thinking about it... I think most of us have someone like that somewhere in the family tree...
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