Many who suffer from Sickle Cell Disease want to think and feel “I’m no different than you.” In fact, two local women — Kristy High and Jaime Mahaffey — wrote the book on it.
“I’m No Different Than You is a children’s book that we wrote that focuses on children living with Sickle Cell Disease and the social and mental issues people affected by this disease often face,” says Kristy High, Care Coordinator and co-writer of I’m No Different Than You.
According to High, the book is about a girl named Kayla. The girl “has a positive outlook on life despite the challenges of managing a chronic medical condition,” she says. “After having to attend a new school, Kayla is worried about how others will react to learning that she has Sickle Cell Disease. Kayla’s friendships are quickly changed by the lack of understanding and fears of the other children.”
The inspiration behind writing the book came from Mahaffey’s 15-year-old daughter, Kayla and High’s 12-year-old daughter, Kiera, who are both living with the disease. “Both children have encountered situations in school that involved bullying and other social issues because of having Sickle Cell Disease,” she says.
The name of the book came from the way that High would want to feel if she, herself, had Sickle Cell Disease. “I would want others to realize when they look at me,” she explains, “I’m no different than you.”
High says the book was important to write because they wanted to raise awareness of the disease. “We have a goal to bring awareness to various childhood health and wellness topics,” she says. “We want to be champions for the Sickle Cell Warriors out there!”
The book is unique because it provides basic education about Sickle Cell Disease without the medical jargon. “It makes it easier for parents, teachers and children to understand,” High says. “it also focuses on the social implications for a child dealing with chronic illness as this aspect is often lost in the medical field.”
High and Mahaffey want to encourage children living with Sickle Cell Disease, who have felt that they don’t measure up to others, dealing with mental health issues or just feeling overwhelmed from living with the disease. “We also hope to inspire children not afflicted by a chronic illness, such as Sickle Cell Disease that isolating and bullying another person just because of their medical condition is hurtful and it’s best to ask questions if they don’t understand that person’s condition,” High says. “Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and friendship.”
To learn more about the book, I’m No Different Than You, you can contact High at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her on Facebook and Instagram. The book is also on Amazon. Search for Kristy High and Jaime Mahaffey.