Sarah's Fight Against Lupus

Hi, my name is Sarah Gonzalez. Over 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus, as it is commonly referred to, is an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is when your body no longer recognizes what is self and what is foreign, such as a virus or bacteria, and so your body attacks itself. It has affected my joints, lungs, heart, skin and nervous system. I have tried and failed every possible therapy, and even after going through 12 chemotherapy treatments have not gone into remission.

I have been approved for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT). There is no cure for lupus, but this is a salvage therapy in hopes to put my body into remission by resetting my immune system.  Over the course of 2 months I will undergo chemo, bone marrow stimulation and harvesting of my own stem cells. My stem cells will then be sterilized. My bone marrow will then be wiped out with use of 3 different medications, which include chemotherapy and immunosuppressants. I will then get my clean stem cells back and they will engraft into my bone marrow. This will re-set my immune system to that of when I was born, and give me a chance for remission.

I am blessed that insurance will cover most of the treatment, but there are a lot of costs associated with it. I will have to make multiple trips from California to Chicago for the treatment. I will have to take several months off of work, and my husband will have to travel with me during the treatment.

I have kept my struggle with lupus very private. It is hard to deal with a chronic illness, especially being diagnosed in your 20s. I have learned though, that this is me, this is my story, and I won’t be able to reach anyone else if I don’t share. So, I have been gradually finding my voice, and learning to control my lupus and not let it control me. If you are able to make any donation it would be greatly appreciated and help. And most importantly, please keep me and my family in your prayers. There’s no greater gift than bearing one another’s burdens and interceding for each other.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:16   
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Organizer and beneficiary

Natalie Pena-Brockett 
Bakersfield, CA
Sarah Gonzalez