Thirty-One Faces of Hope: Chris Reed
The lupus community includes people living with lupus, friends, family and supporters across Georgia. For Lupus Awareness Month, we would like to highlight some of our lupus heroes and champions.
Chris Reed, Chair of the Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness
I was diagnosed with lupus in 1990 at the age of 16. Lupus has attacked my heart, lungs, kidneys, digestive system and nervous system. Before I was diagnosed, I remember sitting in driver’s ed class at the age of 16, barely able wrap my hands around the steering wheel and suffering from a constant cough. walking up the stairwell to my bedroom each day felt like a heart attack. I was tested for every disease imaginable. Eventually, doctors determined that I was one of the very rare males to develop systemic lupus.
Despite these serious attacks, I earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from the Georgia State University and a law degree from Tulane University which I attribute to God, the support of my family and the support I received at an early age from the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter (LFAGA) and many of the volunteers that contributed to that organization. Now, I must give back!
I now serve as the leader of the LFAGA’s Men’s Support Group, the first support group of its kind in the United States of America, lending advice and support to men across the globe. As Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the LFAGA, I lead lupus advocates to the Georgia State Capitol to lobby their elected officials on issues that impact people living with lupus. I was one of twelve panelists to speak in front of the Food and Drug Administration at the historical Lupus Patient Focused Drug Development meeting in 2017.
Tackling healthcare policy is my passion. I chair of the Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness. As the only state, sponsored entity created by the state legislature to improve the lives of Georgians living with lupus, the Council now receives yearly appropriations from the State of Georgia to facilitate sustainable partnerships in the areas of research, development and professional education so that every lupus patient in Georgia has access to knowledgeable health care providers. Under my leadership, the Council has piloted projects to understand the efficacy and feasibility of using telemedicine to diagnose and treat people living with lupus and implemented care and transition plans for pediatric lupus in two counties in Georgia.
- Chris Reed