LAURINBURG — For some people when asked about lupus, all they know is it is associated with the color purple.
But Danielle Manning, who has the disease, lupus is a life changer.Manning hopes to use the month of May — the month designated as lupus Awareness Month — to enlighten more Scotland County area residents about the illness.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body, skin, joints and or organs inside the body.
It is estimated 5 million people in the world have a form of lupus with more than 16,000 new cases reported each year.
Manning was diagnoised wi the disease about 12 years ago.
“There are more people in Scotland County with lupus than we think,” Manning said. “It’s real serious. Just like you can get down and sick with cancer, you can get down and sick with lupus.”
She knows very well.
At the age of 14, she said she was outside playing and before dinner she took a shower. A normal thing for her and her family.
“After I got my hot shower, I couldn’t move,” she said.
Her mother told an aunt what was happening and the aunt said to just put an electric blanket on Manning and a heating pad. She was able to move after sitting under the heat for about 10 minutes. Her mother suspected that wasn’t normal so she took Manning to the doctor.
Dr. Michael O’Donnell, a doctor at the Purcell Clinic in Laurinburg immediately tested her for lupus after hearing her symptoms.
Two days later, doctors had given her the diagnosis and treatment started. The family traveled to Duke Hospital in Durham and UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, twice a month for treatments. The youngest of five children, she is the only one in her family with the disease.
“It didn’t sit with me well. It took me a long time to actually accept the fact that I had lupus. But at the same time in the process of it, it made me stronger. I knew as long as I do what I am supposed to do I will be around to be able to enjoy life and enjoy family.”
Lupus may have altered the route to her obtaining her dreams but it hasn’t stopped her.
“Being a typical child, you want your family, you want your college degree, you want all those things and for me lupus kind of made me sit down and realize okay I can do those things but I have to go another route,” she said.
She is a year away from getting a degree in Early Childhood Education. She started in 2009, but she is determined to finish. She said she knows her body and so she is not trying to over do it.
“I know what I can and cannot do. I’m not going to stress myself because it takes a toll on your body the most.”
Manning said she doesn’t know how she will feel on a given day. Sometime her joints are swollen, she can barely move her hands and is in constant pain.
Early detection is the key.
“It shuts down organs quick. A lot of people don’t understand, they don’t know what lupus is. It’s really hard to understand. It’s sneaky. You could be perfectly fine today and then tomorrow you wouldn’t be able to even walk. You’re just down, not able to do nothing cause it just takes control,” she said.
Manning helepd organize second annual awareness event earlier this month at Market Park in Laurinburg. It was a day set aside for those who have lupus to enjoy themselves. It was also an informational session to teach people about the disease.
There were singers, music, volleyball,kickball, bounce houses for the children. Manning as well as other lupus fighters shared their stories with the crowd.
She said the event to her was successful with more people attending than last year.
Her advice to someone just diagnosed is put God first.
“Know yourself and know your body so you will be able to understand what is going on. Always remember you have lupus but lupus doesn’t have you.”
For information about lupus, contact Manning at [email protected]
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171