Lupus Story of The Month
Kelly and Jeff Cassier’s Story
Bags packed, skis and snow gear were ready for the slopes but Kelly never got to enjoy that weekend in Vermont with her friends. She spent most of the trip inside sick, incredibly tired for a young, active woman and her vision was not right. When she returned home, she immediately went to her doctor. She was lucky, her doctor knew the signs of lupus. She had a butterfly rash on her face and several other symptoms that made the diagnosis clear. Not everyone is as fortunate as Kelly to have an immediate answer to her puzzling symptoms. Most patients struggle for years without an answer but for Kelly it was quick and life changing. Before her diagnosis eleven years ago, Kelly was working long days that required little or no sleep, she taught aerobics and had her whole life ahead of her. Now she could sleep fifteen hours a night, she is less active, and experiences fatigue and joint pain often. Kelly said, “my first and worst thought the day I was diagnosed was that I can’t have children. I was put on this earth to be a mom and I was determined to have my own. It’s not easy and some lupus patients cannot carry to term and that makes me sad but it is always worth a shot if that is part of your path in life.” She was determined not to let a diagnosis of lupus to take her dream of motherhood.
Today, Kelly is living life with lupus. She has a wonderful husband, Jeff and two beautiful daughters. Jeff has been with her every step of the way and a few years ago, began participating in the Foundation’s fundraising events. He pondered training for the Falmouth Road Race when the Foundation first received charity numbers but felt like he could never really do it. This year was different. He stepped back and watched how much Kelly does and has achieved despite lupus. Kelly carried two beautiful babies during high risk pregnancies, works full time, and gets the kids ready every single day. He knows he may not be in the best training shape but he knows he will complete the race whether he “runs, walks or crawls”. According to Jeff, running for the Foundation will help fund lupus research, get him into shape but most important will show his little girls that they can do anything if they put their heart and soul into it. Jeff said “he truly looks forward to wearing a Lupus Foundation New England shirt and running with the Foundation team even if it will be at the back of the pack”.