May is Lupus Awareness Month! This is especially important to these two pretty ladies, Morgan and her mom, Angie. They both have Lupus and want to bring more awareness because there is such a need for funding and research! Morgan wanted to participate in the 52 Things of Beauty Project. She asked me to paint a picture of her parents from their wedding day. She was throwing a party to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary and wanted to surprise them! Her cause; the Lupus Foundation!
Lupus a very hard disease to understand and so many are unaware of Lupus and its effects, even in the medical community. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints and/or organs). “Chronic” means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.
In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). Normally our immune systems produce proteins called “antibodies” which protect the body from these invaders.
Autoimmunity means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”). As a result, it creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. Your body sees itself as foreign.
Here is an excerpt from a blog post Morgan wrote in 2015, describing her personal experience with Lupus;
“Some days I teared up walking to class because my knees and ankles hurt so bad it took everything in me to walk. There were nights that I sat in my dorm and cried because I couldn’t be out with all of my friends having fun and being a normal college student. I barely had the energy to get a shower. No one knew that though because when people look at me I look like nothing is wrong. That’s one of the hardest parts of lupus. There were days I cried when I looked in the mirror because my hair and eyelashes would fall out in clumps overnight, especially around finals when I was more stressed than usual.
With all of this being said, I don’t want pity or sympathy. I want help finding a cure. I believe that God led me to fight this battle at such a young age for a reason. I’ve never once asked “why me.” Why would it be fair for me not to suffer? What makes me so much better that I shouldn’t deal with this? Nothing. It’s an honor to know that God thought I would be strong enough to handle all of this.
I won’t let this disease win. I try to live the most normal life I can. I travel, I love to travel. It’s a way to escape reality for a little while. I’d choose being sick on the beach over being sick at home any day. I exercise as much as I can. I shop. I love my friends. I study. I get so much joy from doing and giving to others (next time you’re having a bad day bake some cookies for someone, I promise it will make you feel better!)
My mom and cousin both suffer from Lupus also. Knowing that there is a good chance my future daughter will suffer from Lupus one day is just another reason I want to take action and find a cure. I want a cure so I no longer have to see my mom in pain everyday. Who do you want to find a cure for?”
Gah, talk about a great attitude! I hope she inspires you, as much as she did me, to help those struggling with Lupus. Every year, there is a Lupus walk. They raised over $5,000 last year for the Lupus Foundation doing various fundraisers. If you are in the Birmingham area you should participate in the Lupus Walk. Also, attached below is a link all about the midsouth chapters, including Birmingham, with ways to get involved, donate, and support groups!
Doing something to make a difference in the life of others is one of the most fulfilling things we can do. My goal in sharing these ideas with you is that you pick a way to make a difference, and ya’ll this is a good one! We need to help Morgan and her sweet mom Angie, and all the others out there struggling with this frustrating disease! Follow the link below to get involved.
Thank you for your help! And Morgan thank you for giving my Art a story and turning it into something beautiful! I admire your strength and positive attitude so much!