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Flow's Fund Fighting Lupus

Organized by: Sierra Fenner

Sierra's Photo

THE STORY:

Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)or simply Lupus. It’s a chronic autoimmune illness where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy tissues. It’s genetic and has no cure. Almost every internal organ in my body was infected and I almost had to go through an operation to get the water out of my lungs. And I had aplastic anemia, too. My bone marrow was not producing blood cells anymore and I had to go through a bone marrow aspiration and 10 blood transfusions. I was 18 then. Whenever I tell people what I have, that I’m only the fifth survivor of SLE with aplastic anemia in the country, especially the ones who don’t know anything about lupus, they’d freeze right in front of me, not knowing what to say or feel. I see shock, fear, pity, and sometimes sadness. MY LIFE BEFORE I’ve been balancing my studies with modeling since I was five years old. The past two years have been amazing and the peak of my so-called little career. It gave me a thrill and excitement that I wanted to do more while I’m still considered relevant. So there I was, a freshman in college, taking up Organizational Communication in De La Salle University-Manila, and I just won as the very first My Veet Girl Ambassador in the world (and I still am!) Part of my prize was to be the very first participant in the reality show I Am Meg, Season 2, a search for the Meg magazine’s ambassador. I juggled photoshoots, castings, going to events and parties, hosting events, judging pageants (even though I’ve never joined any), and speaking engagements on personality development while continuing with my studies, hanging out with my friends, and spending time with my boyfriend and family. I was commuting from Cainta to Taft and back again, every day. There were times when my body almost gave up on me but I kept going… until all took a toll on me. THE NEWS THAT CHANGED MY LIFE Last December, everything changed.While on my way to school, I fainted on a flight of stairs at a strain station and was brought to the nearest hospital. They thought it was pneumonia, but after a week, I still wasn’t feeling better. It took only one look for a nephrologist to decide I needed to be checked for lupus. I wished so hard it was something else—I hoped it was tuberculosis—because I had once stumbled upon an article on lupus and knew that it was a really serious illnesses. I was in the hospital for two months. I missed an entire term in school. But when I was allowed to go home, I got excited. I knew I was going to survive. Little did I know, though, that the painful wasn’t over yet. I found out I lost 20 pounds when I got home. My hair was so thin I could barely recognize myself. With a rash that covered my entire face, I felt so ugly. It broke my mom’s heart to see me that way. She was the toughest woman I know and I rarely see her cry but she cried for me in silence. Eventually, my hair fell off especially when I started chemotherapy. I had always been confident with what I had but seeing myself every day in the mirror made me tear up. It felt like I would never be okay again and I would never be the same. I would not be able to model again. My mom kept convincing me to have my hair cut off because new, healthy hair would eventually grow. It took awhile before I agreed and my did regrow. But I would be completely honest: I was not as confident then or as high a self-esteem as before. And I didn’t think, I would be again. Your generous contributions help advance new science and high-impact studies to prevent, treat it. There is no cure for SLE. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. Severe symptoms that involve the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs often need treatment from specialists. This takes money for medication and treating . Please feel free to help me

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Organized by

Sierra Fenner

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