Faces of Atherton

Sheri Sobrato Brisson photographed by Irene Searles (c) 2017

We first interviewed Atherton resident Sheri Sobrato Brisson when she had just published her journaling book for ill children, Digging Deep, now out of print after 35,000 copies were distributed.

We returned to talk to her about the just released, free mobile game, Shadow’s Edge, the latest Digging Deep Project tool.  “I was really forced into the electronic world,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t keep up with demand by sticking with print. Plus, there was a demand for different languages and different health conditions such as mental disorders and trauma.

“No teen deserves to be sick, but every teen deserves the right to explore their thoughts and feelings around illness or disability. Yet sadly, many do not have the opportunity nor do they have the words to express themselves, or even know how to start. Shadow’s Edge provides a safe outlet to learn how to communicate these thoughts and feelings.”

She explained the title came from the fact that illness is a big, dark shadow looming over a  pediatric patient. “At the edge of the shadow is the hope,” she said.

Sheri said her first thought was to do some kind of digital scrapbook but she was encouraged to do a game instead. “Let’s face it — kids and teens live and learn through their technology. Games can make exploring health challenges easier, more palatable.

“Even though a teen may never pull a book from the self-help section of their local bookstore, Shadow’s Edge makes self-help available to most adolescents. Playing the game on a mobile device means journaling and learning can happen ‘on the fly,’ whenever the player feels they need an emotional boost. It is like a best friend who is always there.”

Shadow’s Edge is for teens 13 plus who are hospitalized, in outpatient treatment, have a serious or chronic illness, are disabled, are in palliative care, are in remission, are undergoing rehabilitation, or are on dialysis, along with those who are survivors.

“Most of the games that exist have to do with shooting at the cancer or other illness, with an emphasis on dominate and destroy.

Shadow’s Edge invites young people to deal with the complexities of illness by going deeper into their experience and acknowledge what is scary or difficult for them. The goal is to help them accept their realities. This is clearly a different approach, and one that, in my opinion, is long overdue.”

Shadow’s Edge became available for free download for any IOS or Android device on the App store and Google Play on October 21.

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2017

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