Sunday, May 10th is a very special day. It is Mother’s Day, and I’ve been blessed to have a wonderful mom as well as a loving wife who has done an awesome job raising our two kids. Sunday is particularly meaningful to me because it also happens to be World Lupus Day.
I have done volunteer work in the local lupus community for about eight years now, and people often ask me why I got involved. At first, I had no close friends or family members who had lupus, but then I met Cheryl Ann Jong.
She is fighting lupus and a long list of other serious medical conditions including MS, ALS, muscular dystrophy, and Sjögren’s syndrome, just to name a few. Cheryl has been the face and the voice of lupus in Hawaii for years, and she has aided countless patients with support, advocacy, education, and her smile and kind words. She also happens to be the mother of four children, all of whom are battling lupus or other autoimmune conditions.
Over the past eight years, I have seen Cheryl’s health deteriorate substantially, and yet she continues to reach out to and help patients- the majority of whom are in better health than she is. The whole time, she has maintained a positive attitude and is always more concerned about others than herself.
As you can imagine, all of these challenges have created a great deal of physical, emotional, and financial burden to Cheryl and her family. This is why some of her friends encouraged her to start a fundraiser, “Care4CherylAnn,” to help pay for her mounting medical bills as well as household items and services that will improve her day-to-day life. Cheryl has always been really independent, so it was very difficult for her to agree to be on the receiving end of the help. But her friends convinced her that she has spent her life helping others, so it is okay to be the recipient this time.
Let’s help Cheryl Ann Jong by visiting her fundraiser site at www.gofundme.com/Care4CherylAnn and read her story so that you have a better idea about how she lives on a daily basis. If you are moved to do so, please help donate.
Her motivation is also to raise awareness so she would also be very grateful if you would forward her story to others and also consider donating to one of the charities that support patients with one of her many diseases. This is just part of her kind and giving nature. When Cheryl welcomes you into her life, you become part of her family. So now when people ask if I have a family member with lupus, I say yes.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms living with lupus, Sjögren’s or other autoimmune diseases. You are inspirations. Enjoy your day and please know that you are not alone. And a special thank you to Melaca for being a super mom and bringing this lupus and Sjögren’s group together.
Take care……….Dr. Jeff Sakai