I had never heard of Lupus until my childhood friend Lucy was stricken with the disease. She was diagnosed in 2004, but I learned of her condition only after it worsened a few years later. Beatles fans most likely remember Lucy as the girl in my childhood drawing, who inspired my Dad to write “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” But to me, she was just my trusted partner-in-crime at Heath House Nursery School in Surrey — giggling as I jumped into a freezing-cold swimming pool or throwing paint at me (and I at her) after we’d been separated for being naughty.
We unfortunately lost touch after I moved away, but as adults we briefly reunited at one of my concerts in the 1980s. Lucy went on to marry and made a good life for herself working with children who had special needs. Sadly, she passed away in the fall of 2009 when she was just 46 years old. Thankfully, I was able to reconnect with her again for a short time before she lost her fight against Lupus.
People who suffer from Lupus often endure debilitating symptoms, which may include swollen and painful joints, headaches, chest pains, facial rashes, hair loss, mouth sores, numbness in extremities and severe fatigue. Often the physical limitations of their symptoms impact their personal life and work significantly.
In addition to the physical symptoms, Lupus can create emotional stress for those suffering and for their loved ones. This can lead to depression and/or anxiety, either of which, as we know, can cause even more potential issues.
Through research, awareness and advocacy, it’s my hope that one day the mysteries that surround Lupus will be solved and those diagnosed will no longer have their lives permanently altered, or—like my friend Lucy—lost, because of this devastating disease.