For the past 24 years I have been a homemaker raising my family, however, years ago I worked for Resurrection Health Care as an Admissions Director and Social Service Worker in a Skilled Care nursing facility in long term care.
Tell us about yourself.
I have been married to Alan Handley for 28 years and have four daughters: Brittany, Bridget, Maddie and Elizabeth. Brittany is a Veterinary Medical student and Bridget is studying Accountancy, both at the University of Illinois. Maddie is studying Molecular Biology at Colgate University. Elizabeth is a junior in high school. I am currently the Prayer Chair and a group leader for the local chapter of Community Bible Study. I also serve as a Commissioner for the City of Park Ridge on the Historic Preservation Commission. My hobbies include taking care of and training my dogs, running/exercising, travel, boating, ancestry, reading, flower gardening, and antiquing. I ran the 2016 Chicago Marathon to benefit the LSI.
What drew you to the Lupus Society of Illinois (LSI)?
My family and I were drawn to the Lupus Society of Illinois in 2015 when my third daughter, Maddie, was diagnosed with pediatric systemic lupus. We were seeking information and support from others who were familiar with lupus, as it was very new and unknown to us.
Why did you choose to be a board member?
I chose to be a board member because I seek to help others who are dealing with lupus, as it is very personal calling for me, and want to serve the LSI and support it’s mission.
How many years have you served on the board?
This is my second year serving as a board member.
How do you feel about LSI’s history and the 50th anniversary?
The history of the LSI and its 50th anniversary makes me proud of all the work they have accomplished to raise awareness, support patients and families dealing with this diagnosis, and be a source of ongoing research and education.
Where do you see the LSI in another 50 years?
Frankly, I hope the LSI won’t be necessary because there will be a cure for lupus! However, until that time, I hope to see the LSI continue their work in promoting awareness, research, and education about lupus. The support groups and various activities where those dealing with lupus can connect are very important. I believe the LSI will continue to champion the cause of lupus!
What are your goals while serving on the board?
My goals while serving on the board are to help raise necessary funding, monitor how those funds are best spent, and have ideas for new and better ways to reach out to the community in support of lupus.
Do you have a personal connection to lupus? If so, feel free to share whatever you are comfortable with.
My personal connection with lupus is with my daughter, Maddie. Maddie was diagnosed at the age of eleven and as a mother it was a very new and difficult journey. You quickly learn to be the best advocate you can for your child. Learning about the disease and treatments was my priority. I made a tremendous effort alongside Maddie, her doctors, and health care team to learn the foremost treatments, know symptoms, and medication management to restore her health and take a proactive approach at managing the disease. It has been a difficult and challenging experience to parent a child with lupus. I have greatly appreciated the tremendous encouragement of LSI and so many wonderful people who have come alongside to help and support Maddie, my family, and me. My goal is to be a source of help to other parents going through the same or similar experience.