Dealing with an illness is incredibly challenging; and even more so when you are young. That’s why actor, Vanessa Bayer, has written a children’s book that is aimed at educating kids on how to help a friend through the ups and downs of illness.
Best known from Saturday Night Live, where she was a cast member from 2010-2017, Bayer is drawing from her own personal journey in order to help others. When Bayer was diagnosed with leukemia at fifteen years old, and treated from her freshman year to junior year of high school, it was her family, friends, and sense of humor that helped her along the way.
“It was a very difficult experience to go through, but I really got a lot of support from my friends,” she said. “They rallied around me, coming over to have tea and talk, and it made the experience not as difficult.”
Her book, How Do You Care For A Very Sick Bear?, follows two bear friends and teaches children how to support a friend who is sick.
Bayer knows first hand the importance of having a supportive group of family and friends. High school is challenging at the best of times; let alone when you’re battling an illness. Thankfully, Bayer was surrounded by a wonderful group of people, and now she wants others to feel the same love and support as she did.
“When I felt healthy enough to go to things, they would include me and when I couldn’t, they made me feel like I was still a part of things. There’s nothing like that human connection,” she told PARADE.
As an avid reader and lover of the library, Bayer always dreamed about writing a book. She also admits that she has a soft spot for children’s books, as they are able to tell an important story, in an artful way that covers all of the necessary parts. “Seeing your words come to life in illustrations is so amazing,” she said. “It’s been just magical.”
And, as an adult, Bayer realized that it’s not just children who are unsure of what to do when a loved one is unwell. No matter our age, everyone can be reminded of ways to show love and support to friends.