This Cyber Monday is extra-special for a lady who is directly affected by all the shipping that will come through the UPS facility where she works.
Special because today we are honoring Jade Nealious with the Giving Your Best award! And it was a great surprise when we showed up at the UPS headquarters and caught Jade completely off guard!
Jade was diagnosed with a debilitating disease as a teenager, but she has used her personal challenges to benefit others. She is spreading Lupus awareness through a project she founded, "Give Lupus Royal Treatment."
Raising money for a cure, speaking to groups across the state, and meeting people from all walks of life have given Jade a new sense of compassion.
Jade's grandmother, Irma Jackson, nominated her for the Giving Your Best award.
"If she can hurt the way she hurts -and still not be bitter- she loves God even more, cause she feels like He put her here for a reason."
"The more and more I pray, and the harder I work, just to see the lives changing of those around me, it just kinda keeps me going," explains Nealious.
And it hasn't been easy for Jade Nealious to "keep going."
Diagnosed with Lupus when she was just 15, Jade learned that teenagers can be cruel. She was bullied to the point where she didn't want to take her medicine, but found strength in her family.
"Thank God for my parents and my grandma, my sister, they stuck right there with me, even when I felt like everyone else didn't understand and didn't care to understand."
Jackson says the family also found strength in Jade's character.
"She's a very selfless person and she's a fighter. She has been at death's door so many times- and you go to comfort her and she winds up comforting you."
Irma remembers how hard it was when Jade was a high school senior-- in a wheelchair. But she was determined to walk across the stage at graduation.
"And she did that! And then her school, Silver Bluff, they did the prom at the hospital. The nurses on the floor, they had the whole prom!"
Nearly a decade later, Jade's goal is to help people with Lupus and show them they aren't alone.
"The lives that I've seen, the ages that are affected by this disease, and not only is the survivor going through something, but the family is also experiencing it, it's not an easy road but you take it in stride and you fight till the end."
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