Dearest family and friends,
First, I would like to say that I hope all is well in your lives...and know that I sincerely care for each and everyone reading my letter. It's 2017 and this year is already flying by. I feel so blessed to be here...to be alive and able to reach out to you. I say this with a full heart because 2016 was a major battle and challenge for me...Lupus flare-ups that now last months instead of weeks. Mobility and dexterity have become a major challenge. In addition, I have also been diagnosed with Sjögren's Syndrome. So, now I have more on my plate to deal with as if Lupus wasn't enough. But, here I am because I am a fighter. I said it before and I'll say it again and again "I have Lupus, but Lupus will NOT have me".
So here we are, again...a new year and walk to fight to end Lupus! The Atlanta Lupus Walk, an empowering day of hope and passion with over 10,000 walkers, will change the way you and the world see Lupus...and the people who suffer from it's brutal impact.
Why I’m walking again...
Here’s my story:
I am a mother of two beautiful and intelligent children; my son, Anthony and my daughter, Jennifer. I was diagnosed with SLE Lupus in 1996. When I was diagnosed with SLE Lupus, I was confused and scared about this disease. I moved on with my life, struggling every single day with fatigue and pain, but I had things to do to take care of the huge responsibilities that come along with being a single parent.
My children were my priority. I just dealt with the horrible symptoms and put on my "Supermom Cape" and did what I had to do everyday.
Lupus is a very mysterious disease. People would look at me and say “well, you don’t look sick…you look great”. What they didn’t know was how much I was struggling inside; and I continue to every single day of my life.
As the years kept passing, I continued to have Lupus flare-ups…so I dealt with it. I had no choice. Unfortunately, there's no cure, but I was determined to fight this beast. I knew I had to keep a positive outlook on life because I had two children looking up to and learning from me. I was their mom; their "life's teacher". Anthony and Jennifer, who are now adults turned out to be amazing and I'm so very proud of them. Anthony blessed me with my beautiful granddaughter, Anabelle, who is now 10 years old. She is the light of my life and even more reason to fight this cruel disease. I don’t want Lupus to prevent me from seeing my children, grandchild, my sister Denise, my significant-other Terry, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and everyone I know and love dearly, develop into the people they will become in this world. I need them and they need me.
My family and friends, HOPE is everything to a Lupus patient. I walk to give hope to others as I fight to regain what Lupus has taken from me; and it has taken a lot.
Lupus can be a lonely experience, so I’m walking for fellowship with others living with Lupus.
So, my dear family and friends, I hope to see and hear from you, even if has to be as a virtual-walker, together we can fight the fight…will you please help me? Will you please help the 1.5 million Americans who suffer and die from this horrible disease?
LUPUS WALK ATLANTA:
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Location: Piedmont Park, 400 Park Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Check-in: 9:00 AM
Ceremony: 10:30 AM
Walk: 11:00 AM
Route Length: 1.5 miles
Remember, if you cannot physically walk, please join me this very special day and relax at our tent and witness this amazing day. It would mean so very much to me.
Sending my hugs and butterfly kisses forever.