Meet our 2024 Face of Lupus, Cheryl Lee
Cheryl was born and raised in Los Altos, California. She grew up playing soccer and field hockey as well as hiking and skiing with her parents and two older sisters. Cheryl was first diagnosed with lupus when she was 11 years old. Her first tell tale symptoms were a rash on her face and arthritis in her fingers. Her fingers became swollen, which made it hard for her to play the clarinet. Cheryl also needed help from one of her sisters to complete some of her schoolwork. Luckily, her pediatrician happened to be a rheumatologist as well and she was diagnosed very quickly. She soon started wearing sunscreen, hats, long-sleeves, and pants instead of her usual shorts and t-shirts – the typical wardrobe of any California kid. Happily, with a little explanation, her friends and teammates understood the wardrobe change and did not treat her differently.
Lupus didn't stop Cheryl from pursuing her dreams
After receiving her Bachelor of Science in environmental sciences from University of California, Berkeley she worked for AmeriCorps in Lake Tahoe and then the City and County of San Francisco. Next, Cheryl attended graduate school in Santa Barbara.
Over the years she has had numerous flares, experienced arthritis, Raynaud’s, nephritis, pericarditis, myocarditis, and countless lab tests and doctor appointments, and has been on various medications in her over 30 years living with lupus. Most recently Cheryl experienced Myocarditis. This serious complication caused heart failure and required a two-week hospital stay and about a year and a half recovery to get back to normal.
While Cheryl has had to make adjustments in her life due to living with lupus, she has been able to maintain her activities and education, including participating in Lupus Foundation of Northern California’s annual 5K Run/Walk. In addition, her family and friends have participated in the annual 5K Run/Walk for over 25 years. As a 5K team captain for Team Cheryl, Cheryl is proud of being able to raise thousands of dollars to help support LFNC and all the services it provides to lupus patients and their families. She currently lives in El Cerrito, California and continues performing public service by working for the State of California on renewable energy policies and programs
How the LFNC helped
When Cheryl was first diagnosed with lupus, the Bay Area Lupus Foundation, the predecessor to the Lupus Foundation of Northern California (LFNC), was a source of information for her and her family. Over the years, Cheryl and her mother, Nancy, have attended numerous LFNC seminars, conferences, and patient education classes. These classes allowed them to learn the latest in research and advancements in treating lupus. LFNC’s ability to emphasize the events on patient education and other support resources always made them easy to find.
Cheryl credits LFNC’s events, patient education and resources for helping them meet others who understand what they are going through, both as a patient and a loved one.
The Lupus Foundation of Northern California is proud to support lupus patients like Cheryl. We continue to add new doctors, nutritionists, and other health professionals to our free Lupus Health Conferences. We are already planning our 2024 Lupus Health Conferences and we will continue to invest in our Support Group Leaders by hosting a training session.
Please help us support patients like Cheryl today!