Josie was diagnosed with lupus, a cruel autoimmune disease, when she was just fifteen years-old. At the time, she was young and always had a passion for dance. She noticed a lack of energy, was always getting sick, and had many unexplained symptoms. Nine different doctors were trying to figure out what was going on inside her body.
On Halloween of her sophomore year of high school, she visited a rheumatologist where she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. Since this time, Josie has been able to manage the disease through medication, acupuncture, healthy eating, and regular exercise. She also uses stress relief options, such as meditation and yoga, to help prevent flare-ups.
Instead of being a victim of lupus, Josie embraces her disease and works as an advocate for lupus in her community and across the nation. Josie has worked closely with the Lupus Foundation of America to plan local Walk to End Lupus Now events, film a national public service announcement about lupus, and host the Lupus Foundation of America’s annual Evening of Hope Gala in New York City. She even hosted her own Casino Night fundraiser in February 2018, raising $10,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America in one night. By sharing her story of living with lupus as a high-achieving Ivy League college student, Josie hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams, despite any physical obstacles they may face.
Josie also wants to draw attention to awareness about all invisible illnesses. Just because she looks normal, what is going on inside her body is not normal. Teaching compassion about invisible illnesses is applicable to people of all ages, as understanding the implications of invisible illnesses is just as important on the playground as it is in the workplace.