Local needs help to attend lupus summit in DC

Published 8:30 am Saturday, March 4, 2023

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When Nora Preston was 12 years old, she was diagnosed with lupus. At the time, lupus was considered terminal, and doctors told her family she wouldn’t make it through the year.

Fifty years later, Preston is still going strong at 63. While the disease slows her down, Preston works as an advocate for others with lupus.

In her advocacy, Preston has her eyes on attending the 2023 National Lupus Advocacy Summit in Washington DC.

“By going to Washington DC and meeting with our state representatives, Congressmen and the House representatives, I want to talk with them about raising money and getting help with lupus research, finding more medications for lupus, and passionate care for patients with lupus,” Preston said.

Preston suffers from systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common form of lupus. Lupus, an autoimmune disease, can cause inflammation and pain throughout the body.

She said should she get the chance to attend the summit she hopes to get more funding for medicine and research for lupus.

“Right now, there’s nowhere near enough research for lupus as there is for other diseases,” Preston said. “We need more research. Unfortunately, lupus is very mysterious.”

Through her childhood battle with lupus, Preston grew up wanting to be a rheumatologist.

“I wanted to be a doctor and work with autoimmune or rheumatology patients,” Preston said. “My doctor at that time advised me against it, saying with the hours they work, my body wouldn’t be able to handle it. While it hurt, I decided I wanted to be a nurse practitioner, so I could still in some capacity help people with SLE.”

Preston worked at the West Georgia Medical Center for 16 years as a nurse until she had to retire in 2000 due to issues with lupus. Now, Preston continues to raise awareness of the disease by telling her story and the jewelry she hand makes.

“I have my good days and bad. Retirement was hard on me, I did everything I could to keep from retiring,” Preston said. “Now, I try to stay as active as I can. I don’t believe in giving up, so I keep pushing even through the harder days.”

To help pay for her trip to Washington DC in April, Preston hopes to raise $1,500.

“Lupus has made a big impact on my life. Although it’s been a journey, I would not have chosen to take, it’s a journey that’s been a blessing in many ways. I’ve met people, gotten to do things and gotten closer to God.” Preston said. “I feel like there’s a lot more that can be done, and I want to do more. I don’t want to just sit at home and hope that more research and medicine come. If there is more I can do, I’m in.”

For those interested in donating to Preston’s cause, she said the best ways are by her GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/8c461cb0 or PayPal: NoraPreston@jewelrydesignsbynora.