Volume 3, 2012 - Online Edition | In This Issue
Looking at T Cell Function to Better Understand Lupus >
Back to Basics — T Cells... B Cells... And Lupus >
Researching B Cells Reveals Clues About Lupus >
Faces of Lupus: Sisterly Love in Michigan Benefits Everyone with Lupus >
Genetic Gateways to Understanding Lupus - New ALR Grant Awardees >
Lupus News Corner >
Faces of Lupus: Sisterly Love in Michigan Benefits Everyone with Lupus<
If there is one thing that comes across when speaking to sisters Joanne, Rosalie, and Mary, it's their belief that love of family comes first.
They stood beside their youngest sister Josephine when she was diagnosed with lupus in 1968 — and that's where they remained until she succumbed to the disease in 2011. Josephine was 64 when she passed away.
"She had so much determination, an amazing sense of humor, and a great attitude about life. Even when she was in excruciating pain, she'd never complain. During her final years, she lived at The Maples Medical Care Facility and everyone was astounded by her positive energy," Joanne shared about her sister.
One of the things that Josephine was so energized about was the ALR, which she learned about through her doctor, Charles Huebner, MD. In addition to providing the family with general information about the ALR, Dr. Huebner invited them to participate in the Northern Michigan Walk with Us to Cure Lupus event in Petoskey, MI.
The sisters — including Josephine — joined the walk that year... named their team Jumping Josie & Company... and raised more than $1,300 for the ALR. The next year their mother passed away and the sisters did another walk — this time changing the name of the team to Rosie's Walkers, in honor of their mom. In lieu of flowers, they asked their mother's friends to support the walk. They raised another $3,000!
At this point, traveling to Petoskey from Frankfort was too hard on Josephine, so the sisters decided to orchestrate their own walk. "My sister was insistent on participating herself — even though she had to use a wheelchair," said Rosalie. "The last year she wasn't able to leave the nursing home, but we had one of our parties there afterward. She loved the ALR. It gave her a purpose."
This zest for life inspired others to look within themselves to make a difference for people like Josephine. Even the employees of the nursing home where she lived have been and continue to be avid supporters of the family's efforts to raise funds for the ALR. "It meant so much to us that the employees at The Maples donated $1,300 in memory of my sister the year she passed away," said Joanne.
"Other key supporters of the Frankfort walk are Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital and Fitness Center, Max's Service, and All-Spa, Inc. — as well as 30 additional sponsors who are all very generous," she continued.
It's clear that Josephine was a woman who had an uncanny ability to touch other people's lives — and that she was a giver. Even though she had very limited funds, Josephine sponsored a boy in Mexico. She helped put him through school and encouraged him to work hard.
In asking the sisters what they thought Josephine would say about the ALR if she were alive today, in unison they said "WONDERFUL! Never give up!"
Fighting Lupus is a Family Affair
Josephine had a passion for life that touched everyone around her. To honor his aunt and support his family's efforts to raise funds for the ALR, Josephine's nephew Steve is making his own unique contribution. Steve now organizes and runs a triple marathon.
Although he is the only participant to complete the 78-mile run, Steve is enthusiastic about raising funds and awareness for the ALR: "People often ask me … How can you run for 15 hours? Is it hard? The answer is yes, but I tell them it's nothing compared to having lupus for 35 years like my aunt."