L.I.F.E ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR CONSIDERATION OF 2017-2018 SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

The L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the 28inspirational finalists for consideration of the 2017-2018 Scholarship Award. Being selected as a finalist is a considerable honor as the competition is at an all-time high. Thank you to all of our applicants for sharing your story and for continuing to persevere despite the setbacks of lupus.

The final selection of winners will be contacted by telephone in September by a member of the L.I.F.E Scholarship Committee.

The L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee encourages all applicants who did not receive a scholarship to re-apply next year.

  1. Madelaine Schmidt
  2. Gabrielle Kostuck
  3. Mazzy Teich
  4. Danielle Wethington
  5. Deset Seyoum
  6. Winnie Moy
  7. Jeri Venegas
  8. Kiaura Knox
  9. Emilea C. Moultrie
  10. Anna Rose Baugnen
  11. Mariama Jallow
  12. Alyssa Michelle Hathorne
  13. Consuella Harge
  14. Selyne Singh
  15. Alexis Gutierrez
  16. William Kalivas
  17. Malcolm Jones
  18. Kathryn Jones
  19. Sadie Frohnapple
  20. Tiffany Alsbury
  21. Jacklyn Kostichka
  22. Jessica DeVries
  23. Jasmine Torres
  24. Julia Santos
  25. Haley Whitney
  26. Aisha Crowley
  27. Jolene Lozano
  28. Destin Thomas

Congratulations to Caroline Boccuzzi, Recipient of the 2017 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award

The L.I.F.E. Awareness Award furthers L.I.F.E.’s twofold mission of promoting lupus awareness by awarding merit-based scholarships to students in all 50 states. Each year in support of May Lupus Awareness Month, L.I.F.E. selects an inspirational applicant as the winner. 

Through this L.I.F.E. Awareness Award, more scholarships will be provided in areas less represented or states that have never received a L.I.F.E. Scholarship. This is a great way to spread awareness of a frequently misunderstood disease across the country and fulfill the L.I.F.E. Team’s goal to be represented and known in all states.

Jean Bassett from Arizona has been a loyal sponsor of scholarships since L.I.F.E.’s President & Co-Founder, Jodi Norton, initiated the Foundation’s first Sponsorship Program in 2014. L.I.F.E. is gracious for Jean’s support and excited to announce Caroline Boccuzzi as the sponsored winner for the 2017 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award. The winner of this sponsored scholarship is typically selected during May in honor of Lupus Awareness Month!

Caroline has been described as joyful, optimistic, driven, reliable, and respectful of others by those who have witnessed her perseverance and strength during her  tenure at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT. Caroline’s achievements stand on their own. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society due to her consistent and excellent academic records. Caroline has also been awarded the Fairfield University Book Award recognizing her prestigious standing in the community at Fairfield University. By any means, Caroline is accomplished.

At the age of fifteen, Caroline was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease occurring when the body’s own immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. This disease has many manifestations creating a difficult environment for an individual to succeed. Caroline not only overcame her struggles to achieve outstanding success but she has used this platform as a catalyst to be more involved in her community. Caroline has “been empowered by this condition to help others.” She lends her time as a mentor to others facing the same diagnosis as herself, to elementary school kids as a mentor and tutor, and has spent time volunteering in nursing homes. Caroline has been a member of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Committee which allowed her to bring awareness to social issues in her community. She has lent a helping hand with her high school as a part of the Learning and Development Crew (LanD), a mentorship program for incoming freshman.

Caroline has shown great determination and academic skill in her dedication to her classes even when lupus has caused her to interrupt her schedule. In addition, Caroline exudes compassion and awareness for the struggle of others. As Managing Editor of her award winning high school newspaper and intern for Jade Marketing Solutions, Caroline has begun to pursue her professional interests.  Caroline’s diagnosis has become a bridge, connecting her to others and we are optimistic that she will continue to do so with an excellent college education at the University of Connecticut. We are proud to offer her the 2017 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award and we wish her all the very best in her endeavours.

 

Written by: Deanna Almanza


 

Tips and Reminders for 2017 Scholarship Applicants

TIPS:

1. Although the postmark date for completed application materials is July 1st, 2017, it is helpful for applicants to try apply as early as possible. Thank you for your help.

2. When requesting a letter of recommendation, make sure you pick wisely, give deadline and plenty of notice to your chosen non-related recommender and thank them for their time. Give information about L.I.F.E. and the criteria for the award.

REMINDERS:

1. All L.I.F.E. Scholarships are merit-based. Therefore, take special caution when reviewing criteria. Criteria has changed for submitting applications starting this year. Please review Eligibilty and Application Procedure

2. Past Finalists or applicants that still qualify are encouraged to reapply.

3. New this year, all applicants must submit both a hard copy via mail and an electronic copy via email

4. The L.I.F.E. Team has decided not to have an application fee at this time.

 

For any questions, please contact us at life4lupuscholarship@gmail.com

Best of luck to all 2017 Applicants!

Updated Medication Section Now Available!

This year in recognition of Lupus Awareness Month, L.I.F.E. has increased its effort to promote lupus awareness. You can now view an extensive list of all the common medications typically taken by lupus patients. You can easily find a medication and learn both its generic and brand name, as well as background information about the drug, and any associated side effects. This new page also provides tips and warnings for patients.

Click here to check it out now!

Coming Soon: Updated Medication Section

To support Lupus Awareness Month, L.I.F.E. will be posting a new and updated medication section on our website. It includes something interesting for everyone. For example, want to know the common types of medications used to treat lupus? Or want to know in simple terms the mechanism of a class of medications used to treat lupus? Or an interesting fact about a drug?  Or adverse side-effects of a medication you or someone you love is taking? Or how the benefits of antimalarials were discovered by our US troops?


L.I.F.E. President, Jodi Norton and 2014 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Recipient Jacqueline Saunders have teamed up to provide an amazing medication section for our website. Jacqueline is currently a student at Ferris State University, College of Pharmacy and was not only a 2014 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Recipient but also a 2015 recipient of the L.I.F.E. Degree Completion/Scholarship Renewal Scholarship and a member of the Honorary L.I.F.E. Program for her efforts to give back. L.I.F.E. is thankful for the numerous hours Jacqueline provided as a way to give back to an organization that helped her reach her goal to become a pharmacist and once again give back to the lupus community.

 

The L.I.F.E. Team gives a special THANK YOU to our honorary winner Jacqueline.

 

Attention 2017 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Applicants

Please note that beginning this year, in addition to mailing a hard copy of your scholarship application, all students must also submit a scanned electronic copy via email to life4lupuscholarship@gmail.com. For more information about eligibility and application requirements, please visit our Apply For A Scholarship page. 

Best of luck to all of our 2017 L.I.F.E. Scholarship applicants!

2016 L.I.F.E Scholarship Winner Announcement

Thank you to all who applied for a L.I.F.E Scholarship. After careful consideration, the following students have been selected as a recipient of the 2016 L.I.F.E. Scholarship. Congratulations!


Abigail Shafer- Arizona State University


Alyssa Metts- University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas)


Christina Jackson- University of Missouri- Columbia


Corrin Ann Stines- Elmhurst College (Illinois)


Courtney Holvey- Binghampton University (New York)


Hanna Kent- California State San Marcos


Hasler Roberson- University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill


Jamie Stevens- University of New Mexico


Jamilah Ali- Ohio University


Kashika Singh- Chapman University (California)


Kayla Morgan Pigg- University of Kentucky


Mackenzie Hoover- Plymouth State University (New Hampshire)


Nicole Iadevaia- New York University


Raul Gomez- University of San Francisco


Samantha Byers- University of California- Riverside


L.I.F.E Announces 29 Finalists for Consideration of 2016-2017 Scholarship Award

The 2016 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce 29 inspirational finalists for consideration of the 2016 Scholarship Award. Being selected as a finalist is a considerable honor as the competition is at an all-time high. Thank you to all of our applicants for sharing your story and for continuing to persevere despite the setbacks of lupus.

The final selection of winners will be contacted by telephone in September by a member of the L.I.F.E Scholarship Committee.

The L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee encourages all applicants who did not receive a scholarship to re-apply next year.

 1. Abigail Shafer

2. Alyssa Metts

3. Briana Granger

4. Christina Jackson

5. Corrin Ann Stines

6. Courtney Holvey

7. Destin Thomas

8. Emily Olszewski

9. Emma Collins

10. Haley Whitney

11. Hanna Kent

12. Hannah Kaufmann

13. Hasler Roberson

14. Hayley Miller

15. Jamie Stevens

16. Kashika Singh

17. Kayla Morgan Pigg

18. Jamilah Ali

19. Latavia Young

20. Leah Santiago

21. Leeza Camacho

22. Nicole Ladevaia

23. Raul Gomez

24. Sadie Frohnapple

25. Samantha Byers

26. Samantha Lee Stein

27. Sara Abdulaziz

28. Savannah Rowell

29. Sparkyl Lucas

 

L.I.F.E. Partners with Macy's

Macy's Shop For A Cause

It only takes $5 to make a difference...

With school just around the corner, what better way to shop for back-to-school clothes and help make a difference in another student’s life. L.I.F.E is committed to helping students with lupus reach their goal of obtaining higher education through merit-based scholarships and YOU can help today.  

L.I.F.E. is excited to partner with Macy's for their 11th Annual Shop For A Cause fundraiser! Be a helping hand to our inspiring students that have faced adversity at such a tender age. You may know of someone with lupus - in recognition, help L.I.F.E. make a difference!

It only takes $5 to make a difference… in return you will be inspired by the students we have been helping across America since 2002!

Ticket Options

 Note: Your ready-to-print Savings Pass will be sent to the email listed in your order (please allow up to 24 hours to receive your Savings Pass).

What is Macy’s Shop For A Cause?

Non-profits across the country participate by selling special Macy's savings passes for $5 each, keeping 100% of the proceeds for their mission!  Savings passes are valid at all Macy's stores during the Shop For A Cause three day event, August 26th - August 28th.

What is the Savings Offer?

The Shop For A Cause offer is a weekend shopping pass discount of 25% throughout the store on an assortment of regular, sale and clearance merchandise and 10% on electrics/electronics, watches, furniture, mattresses and rugs/floor coverings.

Savings passes are valid at all Macy's stores only on the event days.*

Plus, at each Macy’s store, customers who bring in their savings pass will be eligible to win a $500 gift card, no purchase necessary.

*See shopping pass for details

Purchase your Savings Pass Now!

When purchasing, please provide your email address so that we can send you your ready-to-print Macy's Savings Pass. It's that easy!

*If you are donating on behalf of a student, please write their name in the provided slot.

 

Thank you on behalf of L.I.F.E. and all our scholarship recipients for supporting us and students across the country. Your continued generosity has made it possible for L.I.F.E. to award over 100 scholarships to students in more than 30 states across the country!

Below are just a few of our outstanding 2016 Winners. The remaining winners will be announced in September.

Mackenzie Hoover - Plymouth State University, NH 

"They asked me if I needed protection from my parents and it was at that point that I realized they too didn’t believe I was truly in pain and this made me very upset. Just because I wasn’t fitting into their textbook diagnoses I must be a hormonally teenager looking for attention."

 

Raul Gomez - University of San Francisco, CA

"As a person with lupus I understand that life can be unfair but over the years of having supporting family and friends I’ve been able to cope with my disability and turn everyday into a positive day."

 

 

Jamilah Ali - Ohio University Graduate College

“I made it through four years of being a division 1 athlete with lupus. Doing this taught me that some days will be harder than you can ever imagine maybe even some months, but you can and will make it through so long as you do all you can, listen to the doctors and just keep on pushing. But never ever let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something due to your illness there is always a way.” 

Attention 2016 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Finalists

Thank you to all our 2016 scholarship applicants! The demand for L.I.F.E. Scholarships is at an all time high with over 100 applications received. The L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee is looking forward to reviewing all of the amazing applications and will announce the Finalists in the next month.

The L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee is run entirely by volunteers and with over 10 pages of material to thoroughly review per person, this places a large burden on our Scholarship Committee (many of our officers donate their time in addition to their full time careers). As of 2017, it will be mandatory for all of our applicants to submit two copies of their application: 1) a hardcopy via mail and 2) an electronic copy via email.

If you are selected as a 2016 Finalist, you will be contacted via email and asked to provide us with a scanned copy of your 2016 application.

Earlier this year, the L.I.F.E. Team decided to remove it’s application fee (all checks received were voided) to process each application, thus we are instead asking for our 2016 Finalists to provide us with electronic copies of their application (emailed to us at life4lupuscholarship@gmail.com). If you are selected as a Finalist and you can not provide a scanned copy of your application, we will scan it for you and no penalty will occur or hurt your chances of becoming a 2016 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Winner. Thank you to any 2016 Finalists that can help lessen our load.

The L.I.F.E. Scholarship Committee thanks you for your patience during the application review process.

L.I.F.E. is always in need of volunteers. Click here to become a volunteer today (link coming soon)!

 

A Thank You to Mr. and Mrs. Lacerda

I still remember the call from Mike and Kellie asking me if it would be ok with me that instead of spending money on favors for their wedding guests, that they take the money and donate it to L.I.F.E. "Is that ok with you?" Kellie asked.

I was absolutely speechless. Here they were doing something that would benefit me and L.I.F.E., yet they wanted my permission first. I remember thinking “Are you kidding? You don’t have to do this. Are you sure you’re ok with it?”

I was diagnosed with lupus in 2008 at the age of 17, just a senior in high school. I’d never even heard of lupus before my diagnosis. In 2009 I was awarded a L.I.F.E. Scholarship and I have since then been working with this amazing organization to raise lupus awareness and award more scholarships to courageous students with lupus.

Mike and Kellie tied the knot on June 20, 2016, and on this special day they chose to take the money they would have spent on wedding favors and instead made a donation to L.I.F.E. With their donation, they have chosen to sponsor a deserving student in August. In addition, placed on each seat was a little card with L.I.F.E.’s name, description, and slogan (Helping those touched by lupus, one L.I.F.E. at a time) which they hoped would bring continued awareness.

This wasn’t the first time that L.I.F.E. was touched by the generosity of newlyweds. In 2005, L.I.F.E. received a beautiful thank you card from Janice Toskich. “I am honored and grateful to you - both for the financial assistance and helping to raise awareness of the difficulty and challenges we face while in school. [I] hope some day to be able to contribute to the foundation in some way. Until then, please accept my heartfelt thanks!”

On July 7, 2006, less than one year later, Janice made true to her promise. Janice was to be married and instead of spending money on favors, like Mike and Kellie, they too chose to take the money and give back to L.I.F.E. by making a donation so that another student could get the financial help, support, and recognition Janice received as a former L.I.F.E. Scholarship winner.

On behalf of L.I.F.E. and all our scholarship recipients, we are grateful to all our generous donors. On a personal note, words cannot express how grateful I am to Mike and Kellie Lacerda (my cousins) for their generosity but most importantly for their love and support.

If you or anyone you know is getting married and would too like to bring lupus awareness and donate to L.I.F.E.,  please contact us by email at life4lupuscholarship@gmail.com.

Written by Bianca Augusto

L.I.F.E. Vice President 

 Statement on behalf of President Jodi Norton: "What an honorable and self-less way to give to others that they [your cousins] do not know. I was thinking about the first time a L.I.F.E. winner did this exact thing for L.I.F.E.— Janice Shelton. I was incredibly touched by her act of kindness but she had a very strong connect to L.I.F.E. and lupus already. Your cousins don’t have lupus nor did they receive an award from us, which makes their actions speak volumes.  And too much of society and the media shows negative events, while there are people like your cousins out there doing remarkable giving. They were thinking about how they could honor you and help L.I.F.E. on "their special day". My heart has softened a little more as a result of their actions and thoughtfulness."

L.I.F.E.'s LupUS Awareness Campaign

Since 2002 when L.I.F.E. was founded by two college students, Jodi Norton and Adina Gravit, L.I.F.E. has always made an effort to be involved with other lupus organizations/non-profits throughout the country in effort to show unity - together we can do so much!

  • In 2002, while showing support at the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk in New York,  Adina met a young woman named Veronica Cruz. It was here that Adina told Veronica to apply for the L.I.F.E. Scholarship and the following year, Veronica become the recipient of the very first L.I.F.E. Scholarship.

  • In 2006, Jodi Norton was asked to speak at the Southern Arizona Lupus Foundation’s Annual Luncheon.

  • In 2014, L.I.F.E. began its Sponsorship Program and one of the first awards was sponsored by an Anonymous non-profit.

  • In 2015, on behalf of Sjogren’s and Lupus Foundation of Hawaii, Mr. Kris Nakagawa sponsored a L.I.F.E. Scholarship for a student in Hawaii, Anissa LeeHang.

  • From 2014-2015, Bianca Augusto (Vice President) showed her support by volunteering at the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk in Tampa, Florida.

This year’s awareness efforts involved two Rotary Clubs in Tucson, Arizona - the Old Pueblo Rotary Club and the Sunrise Rotary Club. During the month of May, also known as Lupus Awareness Month, Jodi Norton was a speaker at both of these clubs. Her presentation focused on removing the mystery surrounding lupus by informing the club members about this disease and also showcasing all the inspiring students that L.I.F.E. has helped over the years.  

As of 2015, L.I.F.E. has awarded scholarships to students in 35 states. By continuing to work and form partnerships with other nonprofits, L.I.F.E. hopes to award scholarships to students in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) which further promotes its mission to bring lupus throughout the country.

We want everyone to know that lupUS does not have to define US and there is always HOPE.

Please help US to spread lupUS awareness - together we can do so much!

 

Donations received until June 30, 2016 will be matched!

Yet, most people don’t know much more about lupus other than it’s name. L.I.F.E. continuously strives to change the public’s awareness on what chronic illnesses are and the struggles faced by an individual with this disease. It’s also important for people to understand that lupus affects more than just the diagnosed individual - family and friends are also greatly impacted.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, over the years L.I.F.E. has awarded over 110 merit-based scholarships to students in 35 states. Awarded scholarships not only provide financial assistance to our inspirational students, but each award allows L.I.F.E. to successfully reach more of the general public through publications, social media, our website, and of course word of mouth from family/friends.  

In effort to increase these awareness efforts, an anonymous L.I.F.E. Board and Scholarship Committee Member has generously agreed to match all donations received now through June 30th (up to $2000) - this is just in time for the August 2016  L.I.F.E. Scholarships!

Three easy ways to donate today!

Congratulations to Mackenzie Hoover, Recipient of the 2016 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award

On behalf of World Lupus Day, L.I.F.E. is excited to announce MACKENZIE HOOVER of New Hampshire as one of our recipients of the 2016 L.I.F.E. Awareness Award, sponsored by an Anonymous Individual Donor! These awards were created in 2015 in order to achieve the goal of awarding merit-based scholarships to students in all 50 states.

Like many people with lupus, the road to a diagnosis was a difficult one for Mackenzie. She saw many specialists, many of whom thought she was making up her symptoms or that she sought rescue from an abusive home. "...it was at that point that I realized they too didn't realize I was truly in pain and this made me very upset. Just because I wasn't fitting into their textbook diagnoses, I must be a hormonal teenager looking for attention." After being visited by many specialists, including psychologists, Mackenzie found a doctor who recognized her symptoms as lupus and diagnosed her in less than 12 months. She has learned much on this difficult road, including perseverance and the need to be "[her] own advocate." Mackenzie says lupus will be with me for life, it is how I choose to live with it that will be my success or defeat."

Click here to learn more about how you can sponsor an inspirational student like Mackenzie or send us an email at life4lupuscholarship@gmail.com.

Jodi Norton featured in Tucson Lifestyle Magazine Article "Tracking a Medical Mystery"

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine’s November 2015 Issue features an article entitled “Tracking a Medical Mystery”. The article describes the elusive nature of lupus and presents the disease from three points of view: the patient, the physician, and the President of the Lupus Foundation of Southern Arizona. L.I.F.E President and Co-Founder, Jodi Norton, offers the point of view of the patient. She describes her journey living with lupus from when she first began experiencing symptoms 24 years ago. She also offers advice for others living with a chronic illness, stating “if I had to give anyone experiencing chronic illness advice, I would say be your own advocate”.

Check out the full article on page 53!

Why L.I.F.E's Sponsorship Program is So Attractive to Donors

This year, L.I.F.E was able to award Scholarships through the generous donations of sponsors! Many sponsors have said the process is a positive experience—especially reading the student's application essay titled “How Has Lupus Affected Your Life?”. They are inspired by our students, feel connected to them, and most become yearly sponsors of our courageous students living with lupus.  

L.I.F.E. has sponsorship categories that apply to either a company, individual, In Memory Of, and other non-profits, especially lupus organizations. Additional categories can be added to fit a sponsors needs and specifications. L.I.F.E. is proud of our winners and the sponsorships they have received—the minimum value to sponsor a student is $500. L.I.F.E. has been pleasantly surprised as many sponsors exceeded the minimum amount for sponsorship—truly an act of kindness.

-

Why is L.I.F.E.’s Sponsorship Program attractive?

It allows sponsors to be matched to a student based on a number of possible similarities.  For example, the sponsor may choose a student with same interests, an alumni of the student’s college, state they live in, or other similarities between the student and sponsor. After getting to know the wishes of a sponsor, L.I.F.E. recommends one or more students thought to be a good match. However, the ultimate decision is up to each sponsor.

All sponsors receive recognition for their generosity from the Foundation and the student. Most importantly, the sponsor sees whose life they are touching with their contribution. The thank you letter provided by the sponsored student is personal and the sponsor sees first-hand who’s life they are changing and how. 

All sponsored students—regardless of the type of sponsorship—are listed on L.I.F.E.’s website along with their sponsor if they wish to be recognized. This makes for good publicity for any company or organization wanting some extra positive exposure. Contact information, logo and description will be provided with a direct link to sponsor's website. Any sponsor may also chose to remain anonymous.

-

The support provided by a sponsor impacts the student in many ways.  It makes them one step closer to their academic goals, gives them hope of a promising future with lupus, become productive members of society and pillars in their communities. Although individuals with lupus are considered disabled, L.I.F.E. believes our students are “differently abled” and great role models to anyone facing adversity.

-

Due to the success of our current Sponsorship Program, L.I.F.E. has founded a new Degree Completion Program/Renew Your L.I.F.E. Scholarship that allows students to renew their awards every academic year while at the same time giving back to other students struggling the same "cruel mystery" of lupus. Sponsors are able to take part in this new Program as well. This is a good option for sponsors that wish to support their chosen student throughout their academic career—until graduation!  In addition, a donation of any amount can be given as well to help previous winners renew their L.I.F.E. Scholarships. This is a great way for individuals to show their support without the $500 minimum for sponsorship.

-

As a 501(c)(3) organization all contributions are 100% tax-deductible. No words can express how appreciative L.I.F.E. is to have your support.

  Give the gift of knowledge this Holiday season to help L.I.F.E. continue its mission to spread awareness of lupus and support future L.I.F.E. Scholarships.

To learn more about the wonderful opportunity to change a life and be inspired click here.

Scholarship Winner Receives Sponsored Award by a Non-Profit Organization, a First for L.I.F.E

2015 L.I.F.E Scholarship Winner, Anissa LeeHangL.I.F.E extends many thanks to Mr. Kris N. Nakagawa and the Sjögren’s & Lupus Foundation of Hawaii (SLFH). In 2015, SLFH  sponsored L.I.F.E Scholarship winner, Anissa LeeHang, an undergraduate student living with lupus. Anissa attends college at Hawaii Pacific University and is pursuing a career in rheumatology. According to Anissa, “I hope to one day be able to help other people with lupus in ways that only another lupus patient can. Tomorrow, I want someone to hear my story and for me to be the reason they have the strength to never give up.”  

SLFH founder, Melaca Cannela, is a Registered Nurse who just recently started SLFH in 2014 after being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome in 2011. Melaca’s personal journey living with Sjögren’s syndrome motivated her to start the foundation and help those that are newly or previously diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome and/or lupus.  She leads a very hectic life--a proud and involved mother, working as a nurse, and facing the uncertainties of an autoimmune disease. Despite how busy Melaca was she saw an opportunity to help a college student with lupus who was a native to Hawaii and requested that a board member--Mr. Kris Nakagawa sponsor the college student with lupus  because it showed how two non-profits could join together and make an impact. A lot of lupus organizations don’t work together for the greater good and the impact is greater when people help each other as can be seen by L.I.F.E. and SLFH joining forces.

SLFH’s mission is to help educate, support and provide valuable resources for those living with lupus and Sjogren’s every day.Read more about Melaca and SLFH at

http://slfhawaii.org/

and access her blog at

http://alwaysbehealthyandhappy.org/

.