Young Realtor and Cancer Survivor Publishes First Book
Mary Prenon | November 2016
WEST NYACK—Tiera Rice, 27, has joined the growing number of Hudson Valley real estate professionals who are also authors. The West Nyack Realtor, who works with R2M Realty Inc. in Nyack, just finished her first novel, “Awakening” the Bloodline Series, Book 1.
It’s a fictional story about a subject that is far removed from real estate—vampires and witches. It’s also a story that she wrote while battling an aggressive form of cancer. Diagnosed in January 2016 with a diffused large B cell lymphoma, Rice said her disease was far scarier than her tale of paranormal fantasy. “Writing the book really took my mind off of real life,” she said. “In my characters’ lives, no one had cancer. Writing was something I could do that could take me away from just lying in bed and being miserable.”
Today, she is cancer-free, but Rice’s mother, Kenyatta Jones-Arietta, broker/owner of R2M Realty, vividly recalls the turn of events in January, leading to the discovery of the disease.
“She had been complaining about back pain from a Tae Kwon Do class, and when the pain didn’t go away, she was originally diagnosed with sciatica,” said Jones-Arietta. “Then the doctor thought she may have a herniated disk, but an MRI showed a mass on her spine and left pelvis. From that point, everything started spiraling downwards.”
What baffled both the doctors and patient was that type of cancer Rice had is typically found in Asian and Caucasian men over the age of 55. “They really had no explanation for how this could have happened to Tiera,” said Jones-Arietta.
Fortunately, surgeons were able to remove the mass from her spine, but later, doctors found cancer cells in Rice’s brain. For her chemotherapy treatments, she had to have ports implanted in her chest and head. “Every day seemed to get worse,” added Jones-Arietta. “I consider myself a strong person, but this was devastating. All I did was cry and I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.”
For Rice, the situation was surreal. “In the beginning, I was completely numb,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I kept thinking ‘Am I going to live?’ and ‘Who’s going to take care of my little girl?” Rice is a single parent to Raevyn, her two-year old daughter.
However, instead of despairing, Rice turned to her passion—writing—to help her through those months when she was bedridden. “I’ve always loved writing and the idea for this book actually came to me in 2014. I remember talking to my brother about writing a book and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you do it?’ I realized then that I was the only person standing in my way,” she said.
Jones-Arietta believes her daughter’s book writing was great therapy during Rice’s seven month recovery. “She was always journaling ever since she was a kid,” said Jones-Arietta. “I know that kept her going, and I had to keep going too because my not functioning was not going to make her better.”
During that time, Rice and Raevyn lived with Jones-Arietta. “She was lucky to have a support system, but then we starting thinking about those young single parents in the same situation who don’t have that support,” said Jones-Arietta. As a result, mother and daughter decided to start a charity to provide assistance to single parents battling life-threatening illnesses.
The charity, which will be fully launched in 2017, is named #26forTiera. A former body builder, Jones-Arietta started doing at least 26 pushups a day for Tiera, and soon got several fitness groups involved as well.
When Rice finally finished her treatments and her book, she published it through her own publishing company, Eula Rae Printing and Publishing that she created in November 2015. Rice held a launch party for her book in late October and says sales have been going very well so far. “This book will be the first in a series,” explained Rice. “I’m looking forward to getting started on the next one.”
The book is currently available at Amazon.com and 10% of the proceeds will be going to her charity, #26forTiera. “I love being able to give something back to others,” said Rice.
In the meantime, Rice will continue her real estate career, working with her mother. “I love working with my mom,” she said. “Even though I’m fairly new to the business, I’ve had so much knowledge about it because she has been doing it for so long. We have a great connection and we are very close”
Jones-Arietta founded R2M Realty in 2013 and has 10 agents working with her. “I am extremely proud of my daughter, and I want to give her every opportunity to share her story with the world,” said Jones-Arietta.
Tiera Rice and her new book “Awakening.”
Tiera Rice and her daughter Raevyn