The Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter is fortunate to have professionally-trained volunteers to offer support to lupus patients, friends, and family members throughout the state.These wonderful volunteers facilitate our support group meetings.
We are looking for co-facilitators for Evansville, Indianapolis South or West, Kokomo and northwestern Indiana support groups to join this fantastic group. If you are interested, please contact Debbie Campbell.
Bonnie Sweeney's interest and commitment to supporting the Lupus Foundation has been grounded in the 30 years she shared the lupus journey with her sister. Nancy Asbell set the standard for living with lupus with grace, goals, achievement, love, compassion and a mantra: Celebrate the Day. Bonnie is a practicing occupational therapist, an Army daughter, retired Army occupational therapist, an Army spouse and Army mother. She incorporates tai chi, yoga (including seated) and meditation into her wellness programs. In addition to serving as a facilitator, Bonnie leads our tai chi class that meets on the 4th Thursday of the month in Indianapolis.
Dr. Marie Kelly-Worden’s interest in autoimmune disease began with the diagnosis of her brother with Torrette’s Syndrome with ADHA and OCD at the age of 6. She holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine as well as training at Northwestern University and the Cleveland Clinic in the department of Neurosurgery. One of her early student worker’s suffered with lupus and she began a project looking at the effects of antinuclear antibodies using the Lewis Rat Model. Marie has continued to work with autoimmune antibodies and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at BSU. Her research interests include autoimmune and neurological disease. Her current projects focus on the role of antibodies in cancer therapy, sub-characterizing lupus types and the role of specific neuronal proteins in cells. She is a married mother of four wonderful children.
Shemeka Jones was diagnosed with lupus in 2000 while living in California, where she got support and guidance from the local LFA chapter. In 2003 at the age of 32 she had a massive aneurysm resulting in a stroke and 48 days at University of Michigan followed by months of intense therapies. Relearning as if she was a young toddler is when she became interested in helping others with similar autoimmune diseases and disabilities. In 2006 Shemeka received a certification in leadership through AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington DC. Her first opportunity to work with people suffering with disabilities was through the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. This was where she founded the first Ann Arbor support group through the Lupus Alliance of America assisting other patients and their families in coping daily with their disease. She still had the calling to help and support others when moving to Indiana to be closer to family and received a degree in hospitality administration in 2015. Shemeka is an event planner/ fundraiser with a passion for helping others learn how to live positively with a disease and have better quality of life.
Kayla Lockwood’s lupus journey began when her best friend passed away at age 15 due to lupus complications in 2011. She herself began to present autoimmune symptoms a few years later. These situations led her to wanting to make a difference and leaving a positive impact on the lives she touches. Kayla is also a facilitator for the Teletalk phone-in support group. She has an associate's degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from IU. She enjoys working out in her spare time to improve her health in whatever ways she can. Kayla joined other lupus activists in Washington DC in 2017, 2018, and 2019 at the National Policy Summit: Advocacy In Action where she shared her story, educated Members of Congress about lupus, and made the case for why more must be done to advance our cause on Capitol Hill. Kayla strongly believes in the saying "Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know what battles they may be fighting."
Juliana Joie Capshew brings over 20 years of personal experience living with lupus as well as skills in life coaching, compassionate communication, meditation, guided imagery, and now co-facilitating our Bloomington support group. She loves to help people connect to their life purpose to use it as fuel in the journey with lupus. She works part-time as a life coach, and in her free time advocates for people in pain as a pain ambassador advocate with the US Pain Foundation. She also enjoys reading, gardening, coloring, crafting, and watching tv and movies with her husband, Ted. She believes we each have a piece of the puzzle to heal the world, and we need all of those pieces to make it so.
Noelle Carson was diagnosed with lupus nine years ago, following an unconfirmed diagnosis for a few years prior. She began volunteering with our Chapter in 2014, when she decided to form a group and participate in the Walk to End Lupus. In addition, she volunteered at an LFA booth for Black Expo, as well as a church fair with a fellow facilitator. She recently moved back from Texas and was reintroduced to volunteering for the Foundation. She is an Indiana University graduate for both undergrad and graduate school and currently work as a mental health therapist. However, she is most proud of her job as a mother. Lupus greatly affected Noelle's life at an early age, as well as those close to her, who have also been diagnosed. Therefore, she hopes to use her experiences to help encourage and support others living with lupus.
Debbie Jirgal is a wife and mother of seven children. She spends her days educating her children that are still at home and being involved in different ministries in her church and community. She enjoys body building to keep her strong and crocheting to keep her resting. She was diagnosed with lupus in 2009, following an unconfirmed diagnosis a few years prior. She found a lot of lupus information and support through LFA supports groups in the area and chose to start a new group so she could also help people in the same way people have helped her. Making people feel like it is okay to not be okay and that people are there for you is important to her. She likes to look at the positive side of things which has helped in her lupus journey. She is committed to helping others with lupus and to help raise awareness of the disease.
Tina Pennington has been living with symptoms of lupus as far back as 2007 but was finally diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD), which is an overlap autoimmune disease that includes lupus, in 2011. She had to quit her job as an Office Administrator in 2013 and has since enjoyed becoming a bit obsessed with dogs and dog training. She also took up writing and painting to keep her mind working. Tina also finds solace in offering a caring, empathetic ear to those who need one, which is also the main reason she became a facilitator, to offer caring support to others going through similar situations.
Alisha Jones is a happily married mother of a 16 -year-old son that keeps her on her toes. She works part time as a radiology veterinary technician. In her spare time she enjoys refinishing furniture, scrap booking and reading. Alisha was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus in 2010 and has since been on a journey to find a cure. Alisha is excited to get the word out about the Greenfield support group to let others know that they are not alone in this fight. Alisha truly believes that "Together we will find a cure!"
Nancy Finister was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2011. After receiving a secondary diagnosis of lupus in 2016, she found support and friendships through her local Greenfield lupus support group and hopes to pay that forward by becoming a facilitator herself. Nancy hopes to spread awareness of the disease and the support and resources available to other lupus warriors. Nancy is a loving mother of 3 wonderful sons, ages 17-23. She has spent the last 8 years in finance and accounting with a local consulting company. In her spare time she enjoys researching and restoring her 122-year-old Victorian home, antiquing, and watching movies with her friends and family.
Carla Day was diagnosed with lupus in January 1988 and for the past several years has served the Indiana Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America in many areas. Carla has served as food committee chair for the Indianapolis Walk, has participated on the Walk Planning Committee helping organize the annual Walk and has served as the Indy Walk chair for 2015 and 2016. She also coordinates and staffs the health fair events in Indy. Carla received our Chapter’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2014, and in 2015 Carla was formally inducted into the Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter Hall of Fame. In 2016 she was honored by the national LFA as the Volunteer of the Year. Since 2016 Carla has also served on our Chapter’s Board of Directors. It is a passion of Carla’s to help others living with lupus. Carla is married to Happy Day. She currently serves as the Nurse’s Guild president at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, where she has been a member for 28 years. She enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family.
Jennifer Popp enjoys living life to the fullest, one day at a time. After a 2009 lupus diagnosis ended her career as an air traffic controller, she trained to become an air traffic control training specialist at the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center. Jennifer graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and enjoys any chance she gets to cheer for the Boilermakers! Jennifer is an avid sports fan who spends her free time with family and friends, writing, traveling, playing with her dog, Smokey, and learning yoga. While seeking support for living and coping with lupus, she met Carla Day and joined the Indianapolis East lupus support group. The support and information shared by this awesome group helped Jennifer learn more about the disease and more about herself in the process. She is excited to continue on her lupus journey as a support group facilitator and eager to share her positive helpful vibes with others living with or affected by lupus.
Julie Smith comes from a family where autoimmune diseases such as lupus are very prevalent. Her grandmother almost passed away from it in her 30s. She has several aunts, cousins, and other extended family who battle lupus and other autoimmune disorders. Her daughter began having symptoms in middle school, but it took years of fighting before she finally received her diagnoses of lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and juvenile arthritis when she was 16. Julie received her own diagnoses of lupus, RA, and Sjogrens in 2014. Julie hopes to use her training as a registered nurse as well as her personal experiences to help educate, comfort, empower, and love on other lupus warriors and their families. In her free time, Julie enjoys going to music concerts at University of Indianapolis where her daughter performs, attending sporting events that her son participates in, and dating her husband. She is blessed to have a strong support system of friends and an understanding husband. She believes that an accepting and understanding community can go a long way when you are coping with this cruel disease, and she hopes to help facilitate that in the Kokomo area.
Kayla Lockwood’s lupus journey began when her best friend passed away at age 15 due to lupus complications in 2011. She herself began to present autoimmune symptoms a few years later. These situations led her to wanting to make a difference and leaving a positive impact on the lives she touches. Kayla is also a facilitator for the Bloomington support group. She has an associate's degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from IU. She enjoys working out in her spare time to improve her health in whatever ways she can. Kayla joined other lupus activists in Washington DC in 2017, 2018, and 2019 at the National Policy Summit: Advocacy In Action where she shared her story, educated Members of Congress about lupus, and made the case for why more must be done to advance our cause on Capitol Hill. Kayla strongly believes in the saying "Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know what battles they may be fighting."
Samantha Walker has been a nurse since November 2000; she never thought that she would one day be diagnosed with a chronic illness such as lupus. In 2009 Samantha had a TIA, a mini stroke that eventually led to a diagnosis of lupus. She is committed to help other with lupus and help get awareness out to the public. Samantha was previously a facilitator for the Bloomington support group but had to resign the role due to her health. Since she understands firsthand how it can sometimes be difficult to attend an in-person support group, she's excited to be able to help provide support to others who may also struggle with this.