My Journey with Lupus and finding WYA

“It is the darkest night that produces the brightest stars.”

This has been my favorite quote for the past few years because I think this is something most, if not all, can relate to. Finding that silver lining even in the dreariest of situations. 

Back in 2016 I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease which causes my immune system to mistakenly attack myself. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this.

It was especially hard at the start because I had no idea what Lupus was and no one told me how difficult the first year was going to be. From 2016 to 2017, I didn’t feel like myself at all. The numerous hospital trips, lab tests, and doctors, it was exhausting physically and emotionally. 

Back then, I would go to bed thinking about why this was all happening to me and how unfair life was. I felt like I was all alone and with no one to really talk to. I hated my situation and I hated myself.

By chance, I discovered a newly formed organization called “Hope for Lupus Foundation” or HFL which aimed to promote awareness of the disease. I was fortunate enough to have met the founder herself and I have been active in the organization ever since. I never really understood why I felt so relieved after joining HFL; I just knew it was good to have a support group where I was able to meet other members who understood what I went through as well. 

After joining WYA in 2017 as a summer intern, it was in reading the chapter on solidarity from the Certified Training Program that I fully understood what being in HFL meant to me. It was the first time I was so deeply involved in an organization that was different from what I was accustomed to yet I felt right at home. 

My two organizations, HFL and WYA, somehow managed to complement each other and it was through both groups that I was able to find myself again. HFL showed me the importance of a community and what it meant to really serve others. WYA helped me see the value in myself and how seeing the value in others impacts us in our everyday lives.

HFL and WYA were my two north stars during my darkest days; guiding me to where I am today.  

Through them I found the most amazing opportunities and warmest set of people I could have only dreamed of meeting. In many ways, being diagnosed was a blessing in disguise. It was only through my involvement with both organizations was I able to understand what it meant to be both a “Lupus Warrior” and “Dignity Defender”. 

Published: October 7, 2019
Written by Camille Lu, a New York Headquarters intern from the Philippines

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