This morning I volunteered for the Living with Lupus Symposium at Piedmont Hospital. I heard about this event because we voted on it in chapter this semester, and one of our founding mothers, Georgette, works for this organization. Unfortunately, the event did not pass our vote in chapter (probably because it was on a Saturday morning), but I decided to go anyway along with a couple other sisters. While this was not officially an OPA service project, I wanted to include it in my blog because I did participate with my sisters, Lauren and Stacy, and because it was a great service opportunity to both my community and my world.
Before signing up to volunteer for this event, I did not know anything about this terrible disease. I bet that some people reading this post don’t know anything about it either, so I am going to share some of the information I found with you here…
First, a video. This video is a little outdated- it aired on “Good Morning America” on the morning of Thursday, August 31, 2006- but I think that the information about daily life with lupus and the facts about the disease are definitely still relevant! I especially like all of the facts and statistics that pop up on the screen as Kelly, a young woman with lupus, is interviewed. I feel that this news segment did a really good job informing people and getting the word out there!
Second, the Lupus Foundation website offers tons of great information and ways that you can help out. Here is some information from the Georgia chapter, along with a note from the Georgia Chapter President and CEO. They also offer up some ways in which you can help!
Finally, here is a blog I found called “The Life of a 20- Something Living with Lupus.” Flow, now 29, has been keeping this blog since 2007. In her “About Me” section, she describes,
“I’m just a normal 29 year old woman…except for the fact that I have Lupus. I gotta admit..it’s not easy. I deal with constant chronic anemia, joint pain, kidney disease…even home dialysis 5 nights a week. But Lupus certainly doesn’t define who I am. I’ve been away from school for a bit for health reasons, but I’m back to school full time studying HR in College. I also work part time for a major bank. I hope that in the future when I finish school, I’ll be able to work in the Human Resources department of the company I currently work for. I created this blog for both informational and therapeutic reasons. At times my posts will be informational, other times personal, other times very personal. I hope my words and thoughts will help and maybe even inspire others.”
While I found some of Flow’s posts to be slightly off the topic of lupus and simply about her everyday life, I think that this is a great resource for reading about what a patient’s life is really like. I especially found her posts about her treatment informational, such as the posts in which when she talks about her symptoms, her surgeries, and her treatments. (On a side note: I really liked all the things that Flow had tagged on the side of her blog! With all of the terms and phrases along the side, I could click on anything I found interesting, and it would take me directly to that blog post. I think that I am going to try to start doing this more on my blog so that users will be able to find things easier. Hopefully I can figure out a way to do this on WordPress!)
Now, back to the Living with Lupus Symposium where I worked this morning… I was assisting in setting up for the event, so I was there bright and early at 6:50 am. (I wouldn’t have gotten there is Lauren hadn’t talked me through the directions the whole way there! I never drive anywhere around Atlanta.) First, we moved tables around, put out table clothes, and organized the coffee station. Then, a group of volunteers went to set up signs to direct people to the right place- hospitals are big, confusing places if you ask me! Then, we set up some more breakfast foods, like granola bars, muffins, and bananas, along with other drinks, such as water, apple juice, and orange juice, to go along with the coffee. Others set up a table with booklets of information all about lupus. Then, we helped stuff purple folders full of information for the day’s events. This included a complete schedule for the symposium, printouts of the PowerPoint presentations that the speakers would be using, and evaluations of the event as a whole. After this, Lauren, Stacy, and I went to the elevator near the parking deck to greet people and help direct them to the correct place.
Overall, I think that my participation in this event went well, and I hope that the rest of the day is a success! Here is a picture of Lauren, me, Georgette, and Stacy: