Nono woke up one morning in the spring of 2010 with what she thought were rashes on her eyelids. She tried several home remedies before seeking medical attention. “When the doctor walked in,” says Nono, “she immediately took one look at me and said, “Oh that looks like Lupus.”
Shocked and scared, Nono submitted to doing a biopsy and several blood tests to rule out other diseases. The biopsy results came back and showed that Nono had a skin disorder. The blood tests, which came back several weeks later, were inconclusive but pointed to an autoimmune disorder.
“At that time on the NY city bus,” said Nono, “hearing that I had some sort of autoimmune disease plus the fact that I had a fever and was feeling weak in my bones and joints, I just felt really sick. I began to Google my symptoms and based on my symptoms, I convinced myself that I had AIDS. I remembered Tom Hanks’ character in the movie Philadelphia and I thought my lesions were really AIDS related lesions. My mind just went to the worse possible scenario.” After ruling out AIDS, Nono went to a general practitioner, who once again confirmed that she had an autoimmune disease and then referred her to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist did the Lupus DNA strain test and the test came back positive for systemic lupus.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue leading to chronic inflammation. I remember how sad and angry Nono was when she told me that she had Lupus. Her story touched me so much because it could easily have been my story. We were the same age, from similar backgrounds, and had similar goals and ambitions for our lives. I could easily have been diagnosed with Lupus instead of her. According to the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation, Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans and millions more across the world. Ninety percent of Lupus patients are women with the first signs and symptoms of the illness occurring when they were between the ages of 15 and 44. One in every 250 African American women suffers from Lupus, including Grammy Award Winning singer, Toni Braxton.
At the time, Nono considered it a death sentence. She had gone from being a healthy and vibrant twenty-something to having lupus-related skin lesions, hair loss, kidney failure and other health issues. She credits her Christian faith with renewing her hope and giving her a new lease on life. After failed traditional treatments, she started an all natural monthly peptide injection with Dr. Kamua Kokayi in addition to taking 10 natural supplements a day that he prescribed as well, changed her diet and in a few months, she started to feel better. Nono also began educating herself and others about Lupus. She went from being a Lupus victim to an advocate for the disease and is now a member of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s Young Leadership Board.
Lupus can affect any one of us. Despite the statistics, Lupus has affected men, women and children of every ethnicity. We want to give those suffering the same lease on life that Nono now has by raising awareness and funds for Lupus research. We want our 30th birthdays to be a celebration of the hope that we have to live healthy prosperous lives. Will you help us to celebrate life without lupus?
Our birthday benefit will be held at Pranna Restaurant and Lounge at 79 Madison Ave, New York NY from 7p -11p. We are asking attendees to donate $30 to this event, of which 100% will go to fund Lupus research. Not only will your donation be 100% tax deductible, you will not go home empty handed because of generous donations from Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, Armani Exchange, Fashion With A Conscience and many others. Appetizers will also be provided for all attendees.
We are EXCITED to celebrate our 30th birthday with you on Saturday, January 28th!!!
Thanks for visiting our page to purchase a ticket to "30 For Lupus"!!
All our love,
Yolande and Nono