Shoutout to a fellow Lupie - Natasha S. Alford / by Shanelle Gabriel

The universe wanted Natasha S. Alford (Deputy Editor at The Griot and journalist) & I to meet. Quietly, she balanced with living with Lupus while doing some AMAZING things in her career. I first met her at @CultureCon and we realized we knew a billion of the same people (cause, you know, dope people know dope people.) I had no clue when we first spoke on the phone that she’d been battling Lupus so ferociously while juggling an amazing schedule and looking like it’s all lightwork. With my 14 years of living with this illness, I forgot the fear of being stigmatized, having others come to conclusions about your ability to live a full life after a diagnosis, feeling like you don’t want to say it aloud because their fears for you may come true. I dealt with that for 2 years after I was diagnosed. Like Natasha, I was told to keep it to myself. But this weight is hard to hide... and more-so the strength we have that allows us to both LIVE and live with Lupus is too important for others us to not mention alongside our list of accomplishments. This photo was taken at this year’s gala for The Lupus Foundation of America where she was my guest (who also helped me get this FAB dress!)

This #throwbackthursday I just want to thank you Natasha for sharing her story, her strength, her wisdom, and her life with us. You are a #lupuswarrior