On today’s World Sickle Cell Day: Jenica Leah Tells of Living with the Blood Disorder and Her Book, My Friend Jen
Jenica Leah was born with sickle cell anaemia and now an award-winning author of the first children’s book series about sickle cell, My Friend Jen. and invisible illness.
As a sickle cell anaemia sufferer, Jenicah was always in and out hospital growing up and she did not understand her condition which made her grow up in isolation unable to explain what she had and how it affected me.
“There were times when I would know that there were certain things I could not do, but I didn’t really know why a lot of my complications from sickle cell didn’t really come until I was a little bit older. After surviving a stroke at the age of 13, and then I had to stop having blood transfusions, that was the start of my journey living with an invisible illness, needing a hip replacement at the age of 25 and experiencing a number of other complications caused by sickle cell, I was motivated to make a change for the next generation.”
These experiences motivated Jenicah to decided that other children growing up with sickle cell deserved a piece of mind. I felt that children growing up with sickle cell deserved to have a peace of mind and confidence about their condition that I wasn’t offered, and so I wrote my first children’s book which was published in 2016.
“One of the things I find myself is not letting my condition define me or stop me from achieving my goals, and really just wanted to inspire other children with sickle cell anaemia. So that they could have this sort of mentality as well. So that was what led me to publish my children’s book in 2016 with my friend Gina.”
Jenica’s first book, My Friend Jen reached international success and changed the lives of so many young people living with sickle cell. Having achieved success with the first book, she continued to work on the rest of the series and the second book was published and released on World Book Day 2020 with a huge launch.
As today, Friday 19th June is World Sickle Cell Day, Jenica is making both books in the series available to download for free on kindle.