Sarah Ann Geisler

Helping Other Children of Sick or Disabled Parents Know They Are Not Alone

Around the country, tens of thousands of children live with a parent who is chronically ill or disabled. Sixteen-year-old Sarah Geisler of Nanuet, New York, is one of these kids. Her mom has severe multiple sclerosis and has been in a nursing home for four years.

When Sarah was twelve, her mother needed to be moved into the nursing home, and Sarah experienced a wrenching mix of emotions. There was some relief, because "I finally had time to live my own life," and "hurt, because my mom was too sick to live with my family any longer."

Sarah's often conflicting feelings inspired her to help other kids in similarly difficult circumstances. "I realized there weren't many resources specifically aimed at kids with chronically ill or disabled parents. So I decided to create my own."

The result was Invisible Crutches: Help for Kids with Disabled or Chronically Ill Parents, a book that Sarah developed and planned during the Take the Lead program. Her goals for the book? To let other kids know that "there are solutions for your problems" and "you are not alone."

For Sarah, Take the Lead showed her that a "leader does not necessarily need to be out in front; a person can practice quiet leadership in an activity like writing a book." Sarah is currently in the process of submitting a book proposal to a publishing house.