How One Woman Living With Lupus is Changing Lives

Marisa Zeppieri is a journalist, blogger, and founder of the non-profit LupusChick. Marisa works and runs the non-profit all while being sick with Lupus herself.

The chronic autoimmune disease causes your immune system to attack itself. Lupus develops in response to a combination of factors including hormones, genetics, and the environment. Some symptoms of Lupus include fatigue, joint pain, fever, and a butterfly-like rash.

LupusChick’s Facebook page is incredibly active with over 25,000 likes and posts that have reached over 600,000 people. She provides advice, posts uplifting quotes, has given five college scholarships to Lupus patients, and is a huge inspiration in the autoimmune community.

I was able to interview Mrs. Zeppieri about her amazing acts of kindness and what being kind means to her.

Can you talk about the acts of kindness you do everyday?
I believe kindness can be shown in a variety of ways, big and small. It starts with a caring and compassionate heart. I’ve always had the desire to help people, especially those who were struggling in some ways. Whether it is helping an elderly person put heavy groceries in his car or rescuing a stray and finding it a loving home, putting yourself out there doesn’t require much and the reward is great – you’ve just made the world a better place in some small way and you loved on someone with no expectation.

In my world of LupusChick, my acts of kindness typically revolve around spending time with men and women who are just diagnosed and frightened. Giving them a chance to talk about their fears and ask questions is so cathartic to them, and it brings me great joy to share the experiences I have had knowing they might be able to help someone. We also raise money to help patients, to someone needing money for their prescription medication, helping a woman find shelter, to raising money for a college scholarship program. These are a few examples, but most of all just being there. Time is such a precious commodity. To be willing to give up your free time to serve others and expect nothing in return can fill your heart with a joy that is almost unexplainable.

Why is being kind important to you?
Caring for others is important to me, and one way you can show how much you care is through being kind. Doing things for others takes you out of your reality if even for a moment. It causes you to focus less on yourself and your situation, and gives you a glimpse into the life and/or situation of another person. Showing kindness can also be life changing for someone – it may be the first time any one has treated him or her in that manner.

What has been one act of kindness that you have performed that you believe has affected many people?
I think creating LupusChick has been my “greatest” act of kindness in terms of reach. Currently, our site, Facebook page and other social media accounts reach a total of 600,000 people per month. These are autoimmune patients, their caregivers, spouses, etc. We serve as a safe space for people to ask questions, share experiences, help one another, plus we provide resources, free giveaways and products that help patients, scholarships and more. It is a great example to show others that by taking a leap of faith and creating something that can help someone can have a much greater affect on society than you ever imagined!

What are ways people in communities can perform acts of kindness?
Wow, where can I start? Volunteering is always a great way to get other there and show people kindness, help others, build relationships. Opportunities are all around us, I think the key is being willing to take time out of your day and be willing to give of yourself and expect nothing in return. Whether you take a meal over to someone who is sick, offer to babysit for a single parent who you know could use a break, visit the elderly who are in a nursing home, the opportunities are endless. You can also look for a need that isn’t being met. That was what I did with LupusChick almost ten years ago. Social media and blogging was just getting popular and it was the perfect time to create a community of support and encouragement when most patients felt alone. Be creative, look past yourself, and keep your eyes open to occasions where you can pour into the life of another.

To read more about Marisa’s story or to donate to the non profit Lupus Chick check out the website: LupusChick.com or check out LupusChick on Facebook.

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Maria Mongiardo

Maria Mongiardo, 21, was born and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently a senior at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts studying Biology and plans to get her masters in public health. She is also a senior writer for the nonprofit LupusChick where she has been working for the last three years. She is interested in research on chronic illnesses, mental health, and ways to educate the general public on invisible illnesses like Lupus. In Maria’s free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, volunteering for her school’s relay for life, hiking, and blogging.

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