Angel Williams Derricott: Overcoming Obstacles and Making a Difference
Angel was just 12 years old when she started seeing a hematologist, rheumatologist, oncologist and several other specialists for unexplained symptoms, unusual body pains, discomfort, and extreme fatigue. As she struggled with the diagnostic uncertainty, it was a lengthy and challenging process, and she did not anticipate the impact lupus would have on her. It was as if her life was transformed in a blink of an eye.
After a little over twenty years, Angel has undergone numerous surgeries, recovered from a pulmonary embolism, and has had to receive multiple blood transfusions. While facing adversity, she remained resilient and is now using her experiences to help others, and advocate not only for herself, but for other lupus warriors seeking appropriate access to care and an accurate and timely diagnosis.
“In addition to lupus, I now have a variety of other illnesses as a result of the damage it has caused to my body. Today, I am taking back control over my life, by sharing my story in hopes it will provide more insight and further educate others about lupus, and especially the importance in taking charge of your health,” said Angel. “I hope my voice will change the life of at least one person as we fight together and overcome this cruel and invisible disease.”
The moment Angel became a trained volunteer ambassador for the Lupus Foundation of America, she has been involved in numerous initiatives aimed at raising lupus awareness, funds to support lupus research, and ensuring health equity. For instance, as a patient representative on the global advisory committee for the Addressing Lupus Pillars for Health Advancement (ALPHA) Project, Angel brings a unique perspective to the table, as the committee discusses the importance of access to care in improving health outcomes.
Even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she understands that every opportunity to educate the public on lupus will move the lupus community forward. Angel approaches every event, from speaking engagements at the Lupus Advocacy Summit to participating in the Walk to End Lupus Now® and sharing her lupus story with media outlets, as a chance to give back to her community.
“I’m so fortunate to have an amazing support system made up of family, friends, and peers in the lupus community!” Angel adds. “Because of them, I am encouraged and empowered each day to share my experiences and play a pivotal role in advancing lupus education and research.”
Living with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease isn’t easy. With a generous gift, you can support and make a difference in the lives of so many people with lupus.