May is Lupus Awareness Month. The disease affects 1.5 million women in the United States.
Sarah Eiles was 14 years old when she was diagnosed with Lupus. The first telltale sign was the butterfly rash on her cheeks, then the hair loss and swollen joints. Eiles shares some of the symptoms she suffers through when she has a flare-up.
"I can't touch any part of my body, because it will be hurting so bad," she said. "And right now, I think the biggest thing is fatigue and it's like no amount of sleep will ever take care of it, no amount of rest."
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can attack every major organ in your body. A Lupus diagnosis can also weigh heavily on whether a woman can have children.
"I, personally, I wasn't sure if I would be able to get pregnant, because I had chemotherapy," said Eiles.
Luckily for Eiles and her husband, they were blessed with not one but three children.
It has also been a journey for Regina Boston-Dixon, though she first started having symptoms in college. It would take seven years before she was correctly diagnosed.
"When I was first diagnosed with Lupus, again, we're talking about 20-25 years ago, basically I was told that I was going to die," said Boston-Dixon.
Boston-Dixon is not alone. Four out of five women diagnosed with Lupus are women of color.
That disproportion is a reason Boston-Dixon joined the Wisconsin chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America. Both she and Sarah are committed to fighting and raising awareness to find a cure.
"Research is pivotal in order for us to find a cure, and we need to find a cure for Lupus now," said Boston Dixon.
Click here to learn more and donate to finding a cure.