BENEFITING: AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALITIS ALLIANCE INC
EVENT: Florence Forth 2017
EVENT DATE: Mar 04, 2017
Help me support a cause that is near and dear to my heart: autoimmune encephalitis!
I'll be joining the Florence Forth 5k walk for the first time this year. This is not a challenge I take lightly- especially considering I was not able to walk across the room 3 years ago- but I am determined to support this very important cause in any way I can! Proceeds will go toward research and awareness through the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance.
My story spans several years and two very rare autoimmune diseases. Eleven years ago, at the age of 25, I was a perfectly healthy young woman ready to take on the world. I'd never had surgery, never had stitches and had never even had a cavity!
Then, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with a virtually unheard of kidney disease (anti-GBM) which eventually caused both of my kidneys to fail, putting me on dialysis for about nine months. At that point, I received the gift of life, for the second time, from my mother when she donated her kidney to allow me to have a better quality life. I eventually recovered from the disease and rebuilt a new reality- piece by piece - with the added precautions of living with an organ transplant.
In an unfortunate twist of fate, my world fell apart once again in 2013, in the form of another rare, somewhat newly identified auto-immune disease that wreaked physical, psychological, mental and societal havoc on my carefully glued back together life. Several weeks, countless tests and many false diagnoses later, I was diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. And after six long months of treatments and rehab, I finally started to slowly improve. It's been a long road to recovery and I may never get back to where I started. I still suffer from some aftereffects and residuals of the medications and brain inflammation but I am GRATEFUL to be alive and PASSIONATE about turning these negative experiences into positive momentum for others!
In 2015, I was featured in a documentary about rare and difficult diagnoses and from there I've strived to continue to raise awareness and provide support for others. My blog and subsequent website (www.whenpigstakeflight.com) are a product of those desires. This year I'm taking on a new challenge in my first ever 5k to raise funds and awareness for autoimmune encephalitis, a devastating and difficult diagnosis that has dramatically affected so many lives.
Please help me by donating and sharing this message! Thank you!