Why I Walk
I started fundraising for the Lupus Foundation of America in 2016 in memory of Alexa Howard and in support of Shea Evans.
Alexa and I met when we joined the same sorority at Indiana University. She was an extremely charismatic, compassionate, beautiful, and resilient person. She was always there when you needed to laugh or just someone to listen. She was my best friend.
When we met, she had a port in her chest, but she hadn’t been diagnosed with Lupus yet. Through college, my friends and I saw some of the constant ups and downs that can happen to a person with this disease. She would be hospitalized for days at a time, knowing there were issues with her kidneys but not sure why. She suffered from severe kidney pain, joint pain, sores on her body, seizures, and ultimately, heart failure. She would be put on various intense treatments to battle the symptoms, including steroids and a form of chemo.
Alexa was finally diagnosed with Lupus at Mayo clinic around the age of 23. She passed away from complications of Lupus at the age of 25.
Alexa was very private about her health. She didn’t want anyone to think of her as a person with a chronic medical condition, because it didn’t define her.
The first friend I made at Indiana University, Shea, was also diagnosed with Lupus. She has been living with Lupus for 12 years and has had many serious complications, surgeries, and hospitalizations. She is an amazing person and friend and I’m consistently inspired by her strength and resilience.
I walk for my dear friends, Alexa and Shea, and for the other Lupus Warriors living with this disease.
Did you know?
The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus.
Ninety percent (90%) of people living with lupus are women. Most women with lupus develop the disease during childbearing age (between the ages of 15-44).
People with lupus can experience significant symptoms, such as pain, extreme fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues, and physical impairments that affect every facet of their lives. Many suffer from cardiovascular disease, strokes, disfiguring rashes, and painful joints. For others, there may be no visible symptoms.