At the age of 14, doctors confirmed that I had an auto-immune disease called Lupus. After hearing this sentence, I thought my life was over. Little did I know, that living with Lupus would have such a positive impact on my life today and allow me to experience endless opportunities.

Throughout this journey, Lupus has been the reason why I continue to persevere through the trials that come along with this illness. Like my first battle with prednisone, the drug needed to control this illness and reduce my inflammation in my body. Nut on the flip side it is the same drug that caused deterioration of my knee joint resulting in Avascular Necrosis. Living with Lupus has given me a passion and drive to make a difference in the lives of youth living with Lupus. Despite the unpredictability of living with this illness, I can still accomplish my goal of becoming a Pediatric Rheumatologist.

For the duration of high school, living with Lupus has forced me to find ways to overcome adversity. The various hospitalization’s, and side effects of medication have forced me to find different ways to complete tasks and assignments. Lupus is not something that I am ashamed of, but something that encourages me to keep moving forward.

Lupus has control over many aspects of my life, but I do not allow it to define me. Whenever I am faced with adversity, I never use Lupus as a crutch or an excuse. But more so as an example of what I can accomplish, as well as motivation to keep going. Despite having this auto-immune disease, and having two knee replacements during high school, I have managed to receive two proficiency awards throughout my high school career, as well as Peel District School Board Award of Distinction.

I hope to one day be able to encourage patients who are impacted by Lupus to do the same. That is why I have decided to become a Pediatric Rheumatologist. The opportunity to help other adolescents who face rheumatic conditions know that their diagnosis does not have to stop them from accomplishing their goals, is what inspires this career choice. Receiving this scholarship will help me continue to expand on my knowledge and research experience, as I proceed along my journey to becoming a Pediatric Rheumatologist.

Nonetheless, I have learned that altered plans are not always a bad thing. Living with Lupus is similar to waking up in the morning and not knowing whether I will experience too much fatigue and muscle weakness to get out of bed, or whether or not I’ll be able to go to school that day or even worst, end up in hospital. But although I do not know what challenges lie ahead, I continue to soar against the wind. Throughout life, everyone has their own situation that will knock them down. However, I have made the choice to continue to soar, no matter what future challenges come my way.