I was delighted when my mother-in-law rang just now to tell me about a piece in the Mail on Sunday (and Mail Online): Kelly Simpkin, the beautiful, glamorous 32-year-old fashion-designer girlfriend of world famous hairdresser Nicky Clarke is telling the world about her lupus. Here's the link:
And whilst my heart goes out to Kelly - I think we'll all recognise her symptoms - I couldn't help but be thrilled that a 'celebrity' has the guts to go public. I know Lady Gaga has said there's lupus in her family, and that's a start, but every time someone in the public eye starts talking like Kelly is, it raises the profile of sufferers everywhere. I don't have to tell any of you that one of the biggest problems we all face is ignorance - not just from our friends, even our families, but especially from those in the medical profession. (For years doctors told Kelly she had arthritis. I guess we've all been there.) Diana Appleyard, the journo who wrote the piece, has done a pretty good job of actually writing about the disease. She's quoting Professor David Isenberg, academic director of rheumatology at University College Hospital and a lupus specialist, for more information - and Lupus UK have provided a little sidebar on what the disease is. So for everyone who's having problems explaining to friends and family: show them this article, where Kelly talks about being too exhausted to get out of bed (recognise that?), and Nicky having to help her dress (good man!), and having to give up first one job, then the next . . .
So here's a personal 'Thank!' you' to Kelly, for speaking out so well on something that affects us all so badly. She's hoping to do a husky sledge ride across Lapland to raise funds for Lupus UK next year. I really hope she's well enough, that she raises lost of money - and that she gets loads of publicity, because that'll help us so much.
And now I'm off to research Rituximab, the treatment she's on. Anyone know anything about it? Hang on in there, lupie chums. Kelly says she's not going to be beaten, and though it's hard to hang on to that in the middle of a flare, she's right: in the words of the late and much beloved Pete Seeger: we will overcome!