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One-on-One with DeMar DeRozan

Toronto Raptor and basketball All-Star, DeMar DeRozan, takes some time out to discuss how lupus has affected those closest to him

DeMar DeRozan is no stranger to making headlines.  Drafted in 2009, DeMar is a two-time NBA All-Star and just lead the Toronto Raptors to their most successful regular season finish ever.  But off the court, not everything has been as straightforward.  When he was a child, DeMar’s mother, Diane, was diagnosed with lupus, a complex autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to turn against the body and attack healthy tissues or organs.  Despite the challenges, DeMar says his mother has always been a tremendous source of inspiration.  In a recent interview, DeMar sat down to explain their journey and why he’s partnered with Lupus Canada to help raise awareness for this misunderstood disease.

demar-derozen-lupus-ambassador

It’s been tough for my mom living with lupus. She has her ups and downs – days when she feels the pain. But she also has her better days when she’s feeling great. That’s just the effect of lupus and it’s about trying to balance it out and manage it.
The impact early on for my family was tough, just understanding something we were unfamiliar with.  After that it was about trying to figure out ways to help her better the situation as much as possible.
She’s on the normal medication that’s given to lupus patients to deal with the pain and strengthen their bones to help manage it.  She goes to the doctor and does what’s best. That includes a lot of exercise and walking to keep the strength up in her legs, arms and joints.
My mom’s doing great now.  She still has her ups and downs, but she’s definitely coping with it well and making the best of it.  I think the fact I’m trying to bring awareness to lupus is helping out even more.
When someone gets diagnosed with a disease, no matter the context, it’s always tough to deal with it.  You have to accept it and try to work to figure out and learn more about the problem so you can be as helpful as possible.
My mom made me proud even before she had lupus.  She has always been one of the strongest women in my life.  Just seeing her deal with lupus without any excuses has definitely, definitely put a smile on my face.
One thing I’d say is to just be there for support. The better the mood you can put someone in to help them forget what they’re dealing with, in this case lupus, do that. It’s a tough thing, but just be there and try to take their mind off of their problems. The best thing you can do is give them all the love you can.
When it comes to lupus, I want people learn as much as possible. Lupus can come out of nowhere, anybody can have it, young or old. To this day I’m still trying to bring awareness to people while educating myself so that I can be even more helpful.
As a recognizable athlete in Canada, I thought it is important to get involved to help my mom and aunt who are dealing with lupus.  I think it’s important to raise awareness for lupus globally.  Whether I support one person, or a thousand people, I’d like to inspire families to overcome their challenges and better understand what they’re facing.

To learn more about lupus, click here.  To support Lupus Canada and donate, click here.

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