Red Door Summer Camp welcomed 17-year-old writer, coder, producer, and public speaker Parker Thomas this past Friday. Parker dedicated an hour of his time to read his book The Adventures of the Sickler, which he wrote when he was only eleven, and answered our children’s questions. Parker was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at birth and had his first pain crisis when he was only three years old. Throughout his life, the pain crises have caused him to endure extended hospital stays that can last from a week to months. Despite this painful disease that affects many facets of life, Parker relies on his positive outlook to get through any challenge he faces.
The book’s main character, Chase Parker, is a hospital patient battling sickle cell anemia. While he faces tough challenges, he feels it is vital to help others around him and always look for the positives in the current situation. One day, Chase gets an incredible tingling sensation that he cannot hold back, and he dramatically transforms into “The Sickler.” The Sickler has the power to instantly cheer up the sad patients all around the children’s wing of the hospital. Also, Chase’s abilities as The Sickler help him have a strong mindset and deal with the challenges of his sickle cell anemia.
Ultimately, this book reflects Parker’s optimistic attitude and selflessness during the tough times in the hospital. He always tries to “find a positive twist” in the situation. For example, during the question portion of the visit, Parker asked the children what they would want their superpower to be. When one child asked what Parker’s preferred power would be, he answered, “helping others.” The message that Parkers wants to convey does not just apply to people with sickle cell anemia, but anyone facing life’s obstacles. He wants to teach children to always look on the bright side of a bad situation and to help others cope with problems.
We thank Parker for coming to the Red Door Summer Camp to read his book and talk about the message he wants children to learn about positive mindset and empathic behavior. He is a prominent advocate for sickle cell anemia treatment in media and government. Those that have met him can attest to his compassion for those that need a beacon of hope during life’s dark times. We hope that our children have taken this positive experience to heart, and we once again thank Parker for his outstanding work.