LOVE STORY INSPIRES AT WESTERN SUBURBS ILLINOIS LUPUS WALK
Jim and Cheryl Vail share story of love and surviving lupus – together as Lupus Walk Ambassadors
Lupus has been a part of Jim and Cheryl Vail’s love story since the very beginning. The teenagers fell in love in 1974. The next year, at 16, Cheryl was diagnosed with lupus.
“I grew up with it,” Cheryl says, “I’m blessed. I married a very supportive husband.”
“I didn’t know anything about lupus for many years,” says Jim. “I went into the Navy and Cheryl became a pediatric nurse until we married in 1981.”
Cheryl’s lupus symptoms began with constant joint pain and fatigue. After they married, she had a miscarriage followed by multiple blood clots, a cerebral bleed, pulmonary embolism and a heart attack. Then kidney failure resulted in 8 years of dialysis.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any system in the body. Ninety percent of people with lupus are women. Cheryl’s symptoms are common to lupus patients - joint pain, fatigue, blood clots and miscarriages are all symptoms of lupus. Over half of the people with lupus will suffer from kidney related issues.
In 2008, Cheryl received a kidney transplant from her sister in law, Jule Vail, “the most selfless person” they know. Unfortunately, due to complications, the transplant didn’t take; however, lessons learned through the surgery lead to a successful transplant 4 years ago.
Although lupus has marked the Vail’s lives together with challenges, they have achieved great successes – perhaps the greatest is their four healthy sons and grandchildren. And they have been blessed with an incredible support system of family and friends.
That support system will be on full display at the 2018 Western Suburbs Lupus Walk on August 11th in Naperville Illinois. The event is a fundraiser benefiting the Lupus Society of Illinois – the only state based organization serving the lupus community.
“Jim and Cheryl and their entire walk team are always a big presence at the Illinois Lupus Walks,” says Mary Dollear, President of the Lupus Society of Illinois (LSI). “Their story is an inspiration to the entire lupus community and we are so happy they are serving as Ambassadors for this year’s Western Suburbs Lupus Walk.”
The Vails and hundreds of other supporters will show their support for people living with lupus. The Vail’s have participated in the Illinois Lupus Walks since 2003. “The LSI has helped increase lupus awareness,” Says Jim. “Attending the walks and meeting other people in the lupus community has been a great means of support to our entire family.”
Along with raising awareness and funds to support LSI’s mission, the Lupus Walk will also be full of fun activities, such as a DJ and entertainment, a raffle and a team t-shirt contest. There will be a festival area with a stage and tents for LSI sales, kids’ activities, top teams and sponsors. Light refreshments will be served.
In her 43 years of living with lupus, Cheryl offers wisdom to those learning to live with the disease now. “Minor and major setbacks can happen,” she says. “Listen to your body and respond accordingly. Get the rest your body needs and stay active with friends and family that want to support you.”
Cheryl’s biggest support has been her husband Jim.
“My best friend in life is my wife Cheryl,” Jim says. “We’ve raised four boys and she’s worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse while living with the constant fatigue and pain of lupus. She is the toughest person I ever met.”
“Cheryl continues to fight the fight,” Jim says, “But she will never be in it alone.”
About the Western Suburbs Lupus Walk
WHEN: 10:00am-12:00pm, August 11, 2018
WHERE: Naperville River Walk, Naperville
Day-of registration begins at 9am – adults: $30, kids (12 and under): $10
Online pre-registration HERE – adults: $25, kids (12 and under): $10
All registered participants receive an official 2016 Lupus Walk t-shirt and personal fundraising page
1 or 3-mile routes are available
About the Lupus Society of Illinois
The Lupus Society of Illinois (LSI), formed in 1973, is the Midwest's leading non-profit health organization dedicated to finding the causes and cure for lupus.
LSI’s mission is to promote lupus awareness and complement the work of health care professionals by providing personalized resources for the lupus community while supporting research.
With the help of informed volunteers, lupus medical experts, and committed and caring supporters, we:
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat.
For more information about lupus or the Lupus Society of Illinois, contact Mary Dollear, President, at (312) 542-0002.
MEDIA CONTACT Mary Dollear, LSI, (312) 648-6053, firstname.lastname@example.org