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
and access her blog at