Aiken, SC (WJBF) – May is Lupus Awareness Month. It’s a disease that can steal the freedom of so many, but one local woman is trying to change that.
When you see Jade Nealious she looks like a normal, beautiful and energetic woman. But what she’s battling is something no one can see.
“If you can imagine needles poking and prodding your bones – and at the same time, your joints locking,” said Jade Nealious, Lupus Survivor and Crowning Lupus Founder.
That pain Jade describes comes from Lupus, something she’s been battling since she was 15 years old. The chronic autoimmune disease robbed her of her prom and on Field Day as a teen she had to be in a wheelchair. But now she’s fighting back through her organization Crowning Lupus.
“Crowning Lupus was kind of like letting survivors know like don’t be ashamed. Hold your head up proudly. Like we’re in this fight together and your’e here to run Lupus not let it run you,” Jade Nealious.
“Crowning Lupus. It’s her baby and we’re so glad to be along for the ride,” said Elaine Nealious, Jade’s mother.
Jade’s mother Elaine says that ride has been one that has helped so many along the way. Jade’s voice was even heard at South Carolina’s state capital when Crowning Lupus was given a proclamation by former Governor Nikki Haley for Lupus Awareness Month.
“South Carolina doesn’t have a national chapter for Lupus Foundation of America. And Georgia has one in Atlanta but if you can’t afford your normal day to day medications, how are you going to be able to afford driving 2 hours to go be present for the events and programs that they have?” said Jade Nealious.
Since it’s inception several years ago, Jade’s organization has held a Lupus Walk every year in Aiken County, given away countless scholarships to deserving students and continues to help raise awareness about a disease that Jade wants no one else to become a victim of.
“God put me here for a reason and my story will be a testimony to somebody. And for those who don’t have a voice it would be unfair of me to not get up every day swinging,” said Jade Nealious.
Learn more about Crowning Lupus.
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