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Guest Blog: Climbing Kilimanjaro for Lupus Awareness

Posted Sep 09 2013 3:13pm
by Jody Gehrmann

Conrad and Jody Gehrmann
Staying physically active since my lupus diagnosis has been a challenge, but my husband Conrad and I try to take on as much as my body will allow. As you read this, we are getting ready to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcanic mountain in Tanzania and one of the highest peaks in the world! Conrad and I wanted to challenge ourselves physically and mentally in a creative way to raise both awareness and funds for lupus research.

Nearly 20 years ago, I started to get really, really sick and after some time and several doctors’ visits, I was diagnosed with lupus. Lupus has made it difficult for me to take part in the same activities I used to do years ago. I can be driving in the car feeling perfectly fine and then a 102-degree fever will strike. As many of you who are living with lupus know, we can often look healthy, but it often masks serious pain and illness. We often can’t do things many others take for granted.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro has been one of my childhood dreams and I am excited to have the chance to achieve it. I know there have been times over the course of my illness that I did not believe I would have the opportunity or be well enough to do this. Together, my husband and I trained hard to be in the best shape possible to prepare for this climb. Although this will be a challenge, it’s going to be very meaningful for both of us.

We have been long-time supporters of Lupus Foundation of America and our local Pacific Northwest Chapter in Seattle. Over the past several months, my husband and I have been educating our friends about the disease while asking them to pledge support directly to the Foundation to honor our climb. With the support of our friends and family, we have raised $50,000!

As we conquer the mountain, we hope you can match our efforts to conquer lupus. Please donate today and help the Foundation raise another $50,000 to find safe, tolerable and effective treatments for the 1.5 million Americans living with lupus.

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