Surrey author with ME writes children’s book with important message

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Sally Doherty released Toby and the Silver Blood Witches earlier this year.

Submitted for publication in the Surrey Advertiser

An author from Walton-on-Thomas, Surrey, who has been largely homebound for over 16 years because of me, has published a children’s fictional book, bringing the world of chronic disease to life for young readers .

Sally Doherty, 38, posted Toby and the Silver Blood Witches earlier this year, telling the story of a 12-year-old boy caring for his chronically ill mother. Her life is turned upside down when a witch “lands” in her attic, with adventure, challenge and excitement soon to follow.

The book, which has already sold over 400 copies and is recommended for readers aged 9 to 12, is based in part on Sally’s own experience of living with the disease, having been diagnosed with ME in 2005.

Sally was working in London when she fell unexpectedly ill and became homebound. She describes the symptoms as “all-consuming” in the early years, and has now learned to manage them to some extent with a stimulation regimen in which she alternates between bed rest and small activities, but very rarely leaves the house until she is. she shares with her husband Gareth. and the three-legged dog Jasper.

An estimated 250,000 people in the UK are living with ME and the condition remains largely misunderstood. Sally hopes that by creating Toby and his world in which he is his mother’s sole caregiver, she will help show the reality of life with ME in a new and creative way.

She said: “The idea for the story came while I was resting in bed one day. It started to rain and I asked my husband to close our attic window. I wondered what would happen if there was something unexpected up there and how it could happen without anyone noticing.

“The story came to my mind and demanded to be written. I never intended to be an author, but somehow it found me. If I lived a busy life, I wouldn’t have time for creativity, so this is definitely a silver lining to my situation.

“I wanted to integrate the reality of ME into the story to show young caregivers that they are not alone. So many young people are faced with this responsibility and it is perfectly understandable that they are in difficulty.

In addition to the physical adventures of the book, Toby also experiences an inner journey in which he comes to terms with his situation. He stops hiding his emotions and learns to ask for help from others.

“I hope this will offer support to other young caregivers, many of whom may have found themselves supporting someone with the chronic effects of Long Covid, which seem so similar to ME.”

For Sally, there is a lot that can be done to raise awareness about ME which she believes is often poorly represented in the media and by the medical profession, and in need of more funding and research. 10 percent of all profits from the sale of the book are donated to the ME association and the feedback from readers so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

Sally added: “I have been very fortunate to have the support of my family, friends and fellow writers, but it is especially wonderful to hear that children I do not know loved it. Toby’s story.

“Despite a serious theme at its heart, it is an exciting and magical adventure and I hope it takes readers on an exciting adventure while helping a new audience to better understand a disease which has such a significant impact on the disease. life.”

Signed copies of Toby and the Silver Blood Witches can be purchased at www.sallydohertyauthor.com and can also be found on Amazon and at Waterstones in the Trafford Center.

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