Amanda Greene is wearing purple all month. Not only is purple her favorite color, but it just so happens to be the official color of May’s Lupus Awareness Month.
This month, lupus patients and advocates are raising awareness about the chronic disease. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. Or, as Greene describes it, lupus is what happens when your body is allergic to itself.
Greene was diagnosed with lupus 35 years ago and lived with the disease well before her diagnosis. She was tested for mononucleosis nearly 10 times before doctors determined that she suffered from lupus.
Since her diagnosis, Greene has become an outspoken advocate for herself and for others.
“Many times, people are worried about the stigma that’s attached to lupus,” she said, “and I want to help those who are afraid to speak out for themselves.”
Greene is active on Twitter, often tweeting about her day-to-day experiences as a lupus patient. Her website has become a resource for other lupus patients, and she hopes to empower patients through knowledge of resources and her own personal experience with the disease. She actively refuses to let her chronic illness define her, and yet it has inspired her to find her own “Lupus Style.” Greene always says that, lupus advocacy is fun, but lupus is not.
During the month of May, Greene will be a visible, and busy, patient advocate. A lifelong New York Jets fan, she is flying to the east coast to participate in the Lupus Research Alliance New Jersey Walk With Us to Cure Lupus, hosted by the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Having lived with a lupus diagnosis for 35 years, Greene believes the stigma is starting to fade.
She said, “I hope things have changed. I like to believe when you have an entire month dedicated to one chronic disease, people are starting to get it.”