The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) Young Leaders Board (YLB) is a diverse group of young professionals united to raise lupus awareness, fundraise, and advocate for lupus research programs.
The Leadership Committee spearheads the Young Leaders Board and works collaboratively with the Lupus Research Alliance to achieve its goals. Currently the Leadership Committee is comprised of the following highly active members:
- Nancy Mize Gonzalez
- Martin Lewis
- Malinda Logan
- Adrienne Nicole
- Sarah Schottenstein
- Ruth Wilson
Alison Lee is a 38-year-old woman from New York City who has lived with lupus since she was 16. She has been recognized as a Woman of Achievement Honoree by the Lupus Research Alliance for her continued hard work as an extremely active volunteer and advocate over the past 15 years. Alison is one of the founding members of the Young Leaders Board and a top fundraiser in the annual New York City Walk with Us to Cure Lupus.
Despite her diagnosis with the debilitating autoimmune disease, Alison graduated NYU Stern School of Business with honors and was a marketing manager in the beauty industry until her lupus began acting up. After her kidneys failed in 2014, Alison left her career to focus on her health, experiencing both a kidney transplant and chemotherapy for cancer in 2016. She has found a supportive community in the Young Leaders Board where she volunteers and contributes her marketing talents to raise funds and awareness for lupus research.
Martin K. Lewis
Martin K. Lewis is an actor, a lupus patient advocate, and a patient advisor, who has been living with lupus nephritis for over a decade. After dealing with renal failure at 10 years old on Mother’s Day in 2005, Martin and his mother received the official diagnosis and set off on a life-altering journey.
After intense treatment, daily medication, frequent trips to the hospital, and a few sessions of chemotherapy, Martin’s tenacious mother and his persistent doctors were able to get him into a state of remission at 16. For the next 8 years, he was free to graduate high school, go to college, and learn to live, travel & work as an actor in NY.
In August 2019, he was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease, a complication of his lupus and a sign that it was active once again. In March 2020, during the year of our pandemic, he started bi-weekly Cytoxan chemotherapy sessions once again to suppress his immune system and help his kidneys heal from the damage they’ve endured.
Now on the other side of this journey, Martin has been inspired by those who are also battling this complex and persistent disease. Seeing how rare men with lupus are, he feels a responsibility to share his experience with this malady. He currently encourages patients and folks living with lupus to share their own experiences, get involved with their own health and their health care, find or create a support system of friends and family, and remember it’s ok to ask for help.
As a man with lupus, he acknowledges that this road can be at times isolating, but he wants to encourage men and women to live as fully as possible under whatever their current conditions are. Engage and share with your community, spend time with loved ones, and start fine-tuning your health by eating well and moving outside under the sun, with protection of course. He wants to serve as a reminder that this condition is not an end to the story, it’s just another chapter, and there is so much more to write!