Helping Today, Providing a Better Tomorrow
This year, actress and singer Selena Gomez has bravely used her voice to bring attention to the painful realities and the many invisible challenges of lupus. Closer to home, one of our own brave lupus warriors, Tosha Cole, also deals with a constant struggle every day. Tosha is one of the tens of thousands living with lupus in Wisconsin that we strive to help.
73% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 know little or nothing about lupus. This is particularly disturbing because this is the age that is at greatest risk for the disease. The often scared, newly diagnosed need answers. Those with lupus may have questions about insurance or treatment options. People often suffer from constant pain and fatigue, which keep them from doing the things they love. Caregivers need guidance on how to provide support to a loved one. Many simply need someone with a listening ear. Because of YOUR donations, we are here to support everyone affected by lupus.
Your year-end gift will ensure that we can continue to be there for them. That’s why we are available to provide support and expertise whenever people in need reach out. Your donation will ensure that for whatever reason a person contacts us, we will be there for them. We’re counting on you to help us support people living with lupus.
At the Lupus Foundation of America, we challenge what isn’t working and support the research that is most likely to uncover the causes of lupus, understand its progression, and accelerate the search for cures. We focus on smarter research that will generate faster progress and improve the health of all people with lupus. We now know more about the causes of lupus and are closer than ever to developing new treatments and potential cures. But we need your help to make this a reality.
THIS is how a $25 contribution can make a difference: provide a one-on-one patient counseling session, provide 2+ newly diagnosed patient packets with postage, or provide multiple books for our lending library. Your $50 donation would: provide enough materials for an entire health fair, help to educate physicians and medical students about the diagnosis and treatment of lupus, or would provide support to advance the science of lupus through research efforts. Give your gift today!
Please take a moment and read Tosha Cole’s lupus journey below. We admire her courage and willingness to share her story in the hopes of helping others.
My name is Tosha and this is my lupus story…
In February 2008, I began battling various life-threatening symptoms. There was horrific bleeding throughout my body and I was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Testing showed my immune system was attacking itself and I was showing signs of a blood disorder. All tests came back inconclusive. It was very traumatic waking up in the ICU with a catheter in my neck for plasma exchanges.
After a week in the ICU, I was transferred to a regular room and could see my family, including my parents who arrived from Georgia. It was the best feeling ever, even though I looked like a scary, bruised monster, with tubes hanging from my chest.
After two weeks in the hospital, I was discharged with a walker and the challenge of learning how to walk again. This illness was not only affecting me but my family and friends, who had to take care of me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
6 weeks later, while shopping with my sisters, I developed shortness of breath and an excruciating headache. I immediately called my doctor’s office and while on the phone, petechiae (bleeding under the skin which looks like a rash) appeared on my leg. The blood disorder was back, and I was admitted to the ICU. My heart was shattered again. My poor family had to endure another week of me being in the ICU, plus an additional week in a regular room. The next step was chemotherapy infusions, which was used for rheumatoid arthritis. However, it was not approved for my blood disorder. I was very concerned that the cost wouldn’t be covered by insurance and remember asking my doctor: " What if it's not approved for me?" and his response was: "If you want to live, don't worry about the cost."
At that moment, I knew that I was going to live! I had to stop worrying and put my trust in God.
Chemo-infusions followed for twelve months and I started self-injections of blood thinners. Finally, in April 2009, the disease went into remission.
In October 2009, I found out I was pregnant and had to see a high-risk specialist. It was during this time that I was told I had Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and I was referred to a rheumatologist.
The next month, after extensive blood work and the analysis of my past symptoms, my rheumatologist confirmed my diagnosis of SLE. I was monitored extremely close during my pregnancy and had a healthy baby boy via C-section on May 1st. Following this high-risk pregnancy, I cannot have any more children.
I am a lupus warrior because every day I battle with lupus! I have had kidney involvement and have undergone two biopsies. I have continuous joint pain in my hip and knees.
As I continue to struggle daily with the complications of LUPUS; I'm thankful and grateful to have the support of my loyal family, friends, and the LFA, Wisconsin Chapter. If it wasn't for GOD, and my supporters, I don't think I would have made it.