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Monday, March 14, 2011

New story, more meaning

Lupus is one of those diseases that you hear about, but never really grasp a hold of fully. If you're black, more than likely you know someone or know someone who knows someone with it, particularly women, as it strikes African-American women with greater severity than anyone else.

It can be a devastating diagnosis, given the swath of symptoms and oftentimes compromised quality of life rendered as a result. So it's exciting that research is advancing and movement toward a cure is underway.

A college classmate was hit hard by this disease, as her mother struggled to function with it. It was one of the reasons she studied in Georgia for a year before heading off to Florida A&M; she wanted to be close to her mom, just in case.

Little did we know those years at FAM -- the classes, parties and personal discovery -- would end so soon.

Two years ago, my classmate passed away, suddenly. The circumstances of her lung disorder were unclear to me, but given her family genetics, I wouldn't be surprised if lupus played a role.

Writing this was a little more emotional than I anticipated. It led me to remember those crazy times in college, early adult years, and my friend. So for Anika Tene "Nikki" Harris and those who loved her, I wrote this story, and will continue to write stories and do what I can to educate others. 

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