Image:  Jennifer and family
Jennifer, second from left, with her husband and children.

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Patients' Lives Made Better

"My rheumatologist listened to me and got me back to doing something I love… something I’m so grateful for."
Jennifer Lowden, lupus patient

Jennifer Lowden is a registered nurse who has always lived an active and healthy lifestyle. She is a mother of three, has worked full-time, taught Sunday school and volunteered at her children’s school.

Jennifer has also lived with the many symptoms of lupus for almost 20 years. She found herself going to the doctor again and again, with different symptoms making the disease difficult to diagnose. Jennifer had sore joints one week, debilitating fatigue another week, “a little” osteoarthritis in her hip, hair loss and endometriosis. She was even hospitalized for 16 days because of drastic, sudden weight loss. Doctors thought she had cancer, Jennifer thought she was going crazy.

Her lowest point was dropping her child off at school, coming home, sitting down and being afraid she literally wouldn’t be able to get up later to pick up her young son. Jennifer’s family also had a tradition of going to Camp Tawingo, where she was a camp nurse to 350 campers and 150 staff. Two years ago Jennifer’s disease finally got the best of her and she simply couldn’t make it to camp.

It was also shortly after that she was referred to Dr. Murray Urowitz, a rheumatologist at Toronto Western Hospital. Dr. Urowitz formally diagnosed Jennifer with lupus and she began treatment. He asked Jennifer what she missed most and she said going to camp with her children and being the camp nurse. As Jennifer’s health improved, she felt a huge sense of relief. Despite the ups and downs she still experiences, Jennifer explains “knowing what I have makes it easier to deal with. I’m also so grateful that Dr. Urowitz listened to me and made every effort to get me back to camp. This summer I was able to do what I love most, work at Tawingo… even though only for six days.”

In appreciation for Dr. Urowitz’s care and expertise, Jennifer, her siblings and parents made a generous $10,000 gift toward the Lupus Databank through their family foundation. The Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation is most grateful to be a recipient of the Carroll family’s philanthropy.

There are over 1,200 patients enrolled in the Lupus Databank – a registry that was established in 1970 and comprises the largest cohort of lupus patients in the world. Under the direction of Dr. Murray Urowitz, the Lupus Databank has grown into a collaboration between scientists from 27 centres in nine countries, collecting clinical and genetic data from individuals with lupus. More on MHA

There’s always an answer. We’ll find it.

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