Noelle Reymond-President & CEO
Eight years ago, at twenty-seven years old, I was married with 5-year-old twin boys and was just two years into establishing my growing midwifery practice when my life was turned upside down. I believe I had symptoms going back many years, but as the symptoms grew, so did my excuses for them until I awoke with vertigo and ended up in the ER. I was admitted with meningitis and, as a mystery, testing negative to all general Lupus tests. Twenty-four hours later, lying in my hospital bed with my husband beside me, I stopped breathing. I was intubated, and from there it only became worse. I was in multi-system failure, and on life support.
My family and friends were at my side as I slid into a coma. They were told to say their goodbyes. For the next four weeks I stayed on life support in the Intensive Care Unit suffering strokes, seizures, signs of brain damage, extreme kidney hemorrhage and more. Within those four weeks my family was given my Lupus diagnosis. With the support of family and friends who wouldn’t take no for an answer, I awoke from the coma and spent two months in the hospital learning to walk, talk, breath, swallow, and live again.
After leaving the hospital my life had completely changed. As a midwife, I truly felt that I had the most amazing job in the world. Helping bring life into the world and being a voice for women was exactly where I wanted to be and I thought I would spend the rest of my life continuing down that path. It was very clear that I could not continue as a midwife after the coma. I have had major central nervous system involvement and I don’t know if I will ever be able to practice again. I did know that I had to do something. I became a member of the Lupus Foundation, and began volunteering in the office one day a week. I joined the board in the spring of 2006 and recently became executive director. I am amazed at the potential of this board and foundation. I look forward to being a part of what is to come.
Annette Lee-Development Director
I came to the Utah Chapter of the Lupus Foundation in the fall of 2008. I had, initially, intended to volunteer on a very casual basis. I met with Noelle and we got to talking. At first I found it hard to share the experience of my daughters’ diagnosis, but after hearing about Noelle’s experience, I found that I was in very good company.
As a way to help myself and my family better understand my daughters’ disease and how to live with it, I got more involved in helping with the Walk for Lupus Now 2009 event. After 5 months and great team work resulting in a successful walk, I found myself looking forward to even more opportunities to help others living with lupus.
I am thankful to have the Utah Chapter of the Lupus Foundation to call my “home away from home”. There is always someone here who knows how you feel. I encourage anyone to come into the office for an afternoon of volunteer work, event planning, or just to have someone to talk to.
Ali Lev-Community Outreach Coordinator
Justin Barton-Grant Writer