Sabrina Dae Rider Harper
Sabrina Dae Rider Harper is a writer, a retired nurse, and a tenacious mother. A native Tennessean, Sabrina has multiple sclerosis which affects her eyesight, memory, speech, and stamina. She is the mother to three children, Stephany (age 24), Brandon (age 22), and Ian (age 12). Her youngest child has autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia, which each present their own unique set of medical and developmental obstacles.
A retired nurse with nearly 30 years of public and private service under her belt. She has worked in nearly every healthcare field from pediatrics to geriatrics and hospice, hospital to home health, rehab to rescue, and everything in between, and has worked at Maury Regional, Vanderbilt, and St. Thomas hospitals. She has seen many complicated changes in the field, not least of which is the transition from paper charts to electronic medical records. She is currently trying to keep her TennCare Medicaid so that she can continue to receive the treatments that keep her disease from progressing into further disability. Her TennCare Medicaid and Medicare insurance are currently keeping her from having to pay steep out-of-pocket expenses.
When she is not mothering her youngest child, she devotes her time to writing philosophical, hopeful, and speculative prose and poetry, which she likes to post excerpts of on social media. She has completed her first full-length manuscript, a paranormal fantasy novel which she hopes to find a traditional publisher for in the future. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys cooking and gardening as much as possible within the limits of her disease. When asked about her children, Sabrina says, “My children and I are intelligent, and we have moxie. We love a good story. We value kindness and patience above pretension and ego.” She elaborates by saying “Stephany, my lovely ladybug, is an amazing daughter. She is smart, organized, creative, and a natural leader. My ambitious son, Brandon, a dashing dragonfly, provides much-needed comic relief and is the hardest-working young man I know. Ian, my curious sweet bumblebee, can draw anything, he is very devoted and affectionate and has a strong sense of justice.” When asked how her children show gratitude for her, she said “We show up for one another during difficult times, appreciate each other's natural talents, and forgive any shortcomings.”
Sabrina, in her own words, describes why it’s important to fight for the healthcare needs of all Tennesseans: “As a whole, we have made progress, which is quite evident from my perspective. Today disadvantaged children are far better off with even the basic medical provisions of today than what was rarely afforded medical care in the 1970s and 80s. But there is much more to be done. Our troubled healthcare system has stalled and the backstops [insurance] meant to support it are inefficient, burnt-out and intentionally serpentine. Every medical encounter for both my child and myself has been fraught with challenges. The dedication it takes to perform tedious hours of research and the determination to continue advocating for appropriate testing, diagnosis, accommodation, therapy, and treatment for both of us is exhausting. Even with the medical background, it is frustrating trying to figure out the whither to and the whys of our convoluted system. It requires much grit to outlive the disorders caused by my disease so that I may remain functional long enough to usher my last baby into a secure and productive adulthood. It shouldn't be so difficult to communicate an issue and find a resolution. With current technology at our disposal, we have so many novel ways to provide support to the struggling souls who need it. Profit and loss should not even be a consideration when it comes to providing for the welfare of our most vulnerable citizens. Because the human cost is what matters most. We can't get anywhere without addressing humanity as a whole. We keep wasting precious time and resources on transient, inefficient, palliative repairs rather than actual preventative and curative mitigation. It may be beyond the scope of any one field or solution, but as a whole, there are still noble and achievable goals within the industry.”
TJC is proud to honor Sabrina Dae Rider Harper as a 2023 Mother of the Year for her lifelong work in healthcare and her tenacity to ensure that she herself and her children have the care they need to continue living and loving each other.