Today is Put On Purple Day and for the millions of people around the globe who live day in and day out with the lupus, it’s a reminder that they’re not alone on this difficult and often lonely journey.

Lupus is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mysteriously attacks healthy cells and tissue in the body. No one really knows why this happens, but the pain, fatigue and damage to organs can often be debilitating and expensive to treat. Plus, the majority of lupus suffers are women (it remains one of the leading cause of death in young women) and the disease is disproportionately affects people of color.

In fact, Black women are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with lupus than white women.  It can also take an average of six years before people living with the disease get an accurate diagnosis.  That’s why it’s so important that women who suffer from the illness to come together for community, sisterhood and honest support.

TheGrio spoke to three, courageous Black women who candidly shared how lupus has impacted their lives and how they have managed over the years.

TheGrio spoke to three, courageous Black women (Paige, Terry, Shanelle) who candidly shared how lupus has impacted their lives.

“I was 12-years-old, I didn’t know what it meant.  I just knew that I had to figure out why I was in so much pain all the time… [The impact has been waking up and not really being able to plan my life because you never know when you’re going to lose function in your body.”—Paige

“I was diagnosed in 2017 and I felt horrible. Lupus isn’t a joke. It’s not something to play with. To thrive through my day with Lupus. I use CBD. CBD is a legalized cannabis plant in the US and that’s what I use.” —Terry

“Learn to listen to your body. A lot of times our body does try to warn us sometimes we can’t always predict what Lupus is gonna do. But I know that our body will tell me like hey if you don’t take a nap right now you’re gonna feel it for the next three days.” —Shanelle


Watch the full video above to hear these women’s stories and learn more about how lupus affects Black women by visiting the Lupus Foundation of America’s website at lupus.org.