Sickle cell is a disease that makes you feel like your body is attacking you. Scientifically, sickle cell is a red blood cell disorder that is inherited. Usually, red blood cells are smooth and round. The red blood cells in a person who has SCD are crescent shaped.
Patrice Rivers was born with SCD. Her pain occurred between the ages of 1 and 12. Just like everyone with the disease, Patrice spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. At the age of 1, she experienced her first pain crisis. Her parents supported her through it all, while educating themselves about the disease.
As a child, Patrice found many ways to cope with pain. She found that using pain medicine, finding ways to keep herself calm, listening to music, resting and coloring helped her cope. These things plus the love from her family helped her through the many struggles of having SCD. There was another factor that kept her spirits high, writing. Writing was a great distraction for young Patrice. It is something that Patrice still enjoys. At the age of 9, Patrice developed a love for writing. Combining her love for writing and her battles with sickle cell Patrice created her books to spread awareness about SCD. To write her books, she thinks about bits and pieces of her childhood and any other moments she can remember.
Come Learn with Patrica shares her stories about living with the disease and her experiences with hospitalization and pain as a child. Patrice hopes readers will get a better understanding about sickle cell disease, and spread awareness about how it affects the African American community. She wants readers to go on a visual journey and learn about how children can cope with SCD. A lot of kids suffer from sickle cell disease and Patrice wants to share her personal testimony in her children’s book to help little ones who are struggling.
So far Patrice has finished Patricia’s Guardian Angel and Patricia’s Visit to the Hospital in her Come Learn With Patricia book series. She is working on the 3rd book Patricia Saves The Day will be released September 2021 in honor of Sickle Cell Awareness Month. It doesn’t take Patrice long to write the books. They are short and sweet to keep the kids attention while educating them. The illustrations speak for themselves. They are beautiful, bright illustrations that help to tell the story of Patricia’s journey. She allows her creative imagination to take over while writing her books. It usually takes a week to write them. She plans to have 4 books in total for the series.
Patrice’s sickle cell has gotten better through the years. Her last pain crisis was in 1999 which was also the last time she was hospitalized. She wants kids who are battling SCD to know that they are strong warriors who will continue to fight through any pain and crisis. They can get through anything because they are warriors.
Patrice plans to write 2 more books related to sickle cell disease; one children’s book and a non-fiction book. She is also working on a coloring book for SCD and would like to have a stand alone children’s book about the diversity within the SCD community. Patrice also looks forward to collaborating with other sickle cell organizations globally and internationally while continuing to educate with her health platform “Let’s Talk Cell Talk”.
To anyone who is planning to write a children’s book, Patrice’s advice is you shouldn’t settle for any illustrator. Do your research and make sure to browse through your options. If you have a specific vision for the illustrations in your book, make sure your illustrator executes your vision. Be sure to have a website and your work can be viewed by all.