By Charles Delange, age 12
Parker Todd was diagnosed with sickle cell disease (SCD), also known as sickle cell anemia, at 3 years old. At 11, he wrote The Adventures of the Sickler, a comic intended to help other young kids struggling with illness. Now 14 years old, Parker continues to help fight fear and motivate youngsters and adults alike.
Q. What is sickle cell disease?
A. SCD is a blood disorder that makes your [red blood] cells deformed.
Q. What kinds of symptoms do you have, and how does it affect your life?
A. It depends on the scenario. If it’s a pain in my back, it feels like someone is punching me. SCD affects what I eat, the medicines I take and my athletic ability. If I have a sickle cell crisis, I have to go to hospital. So it affects how I do in school because I sometimes have to miss classes.
Q. How does it affect the way you are treated by others?
A. I surround myself with people and friends who don’t treat me differently, and I’m grateful for them.
Q. What inspired you to write a book?
A. I was in the hospital one day, and I walked around and saw other kids like me who were alone without their parents because their parents have to go to work and can’t stay with them all of the time. So I wrote my book to inspire and motivate them.
Q. What do you hope people learn from your book?
A. I hope people learn that kids with SCD shouldn’t be treated differently.
Q. What are you doing to help other kids with SCD?
A. I go to hospital and read my book to them to help inspire and motivate them to get better and go home.
Q. What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
A. Getting a bill on the floor for the New York state Senate and the New York state Assembly to give more funding to find a cure to SCD.
To find out more about Parker, his comic or to buy a copy of The Adventures of the Sickler, go to http://www.thesickler.com