Finding Peace in the Storm

By: Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter, Inc. Last Updated: May 12, 2010

Living with Lupus can be an everyday struggle. A disease of the immune system, lupus causes the body to attack itself, lupuscausing inflammation which can lead to issues with brain, kidney, skin, lung, blood and heart function. Research estimates that more than 5 million people worldwide have a form of lupus and while it can strike men, women and children, nine of ten people diagnosed with lupus are women.

In an effort to provide support and a caring atmosphere for women affected by lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), Indiana Chapter, will again hold its Peace in the Storm Women’s Retreat on May 14 & 15, 2010, at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. Sixteen women were chosen to participate in the overnight event, based on essays they wrote regarding living their lives with lupus.

Designed to pamper women living with lupus and provide physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support, the retreat features a keynote speech by Dr. Myrna Sarowitz, a professionally trained life coach and licensed clinical psychologist. Along with programs to highlight motivation and techniques for holistic and therapeutic approaches to healing and pain management, the retreat will also include spa treatments for the chosen participants.

“We’re so excited to host this event again for 2010,” says Phyllis Simko, President & CEO of the LFA, Indiana Chapter. “The event gives these women a chance to have an overnight holiday as well as give them a comfortable and relaxing environment in which to learn, talk and feel empowered and special.”

For Julie Anders of Chesterton, Indiana, the retreat represents an opportunity to learn more about lupus and talk with other women affected by it. “I’m new to lupus, so this retreat is a first step to a more positive future for me, a way to help me see that I can still have a full and happy life ahead of me,” says Julie. “I want to learn as much as I can and meet other women and see how lupus affects their everyday lives and how they deal with it.” Julie relates that since her diagnosis of lupus, her life has become one of changing emotions – from relief, anger, confusion and fear – and her greatest desire is to get back to feeling happy again.

Alejandra Lopez of East Chicago, Indiana, also looks forward to the retreat and is thrilled to have been chosen to attend. “My journey with lupus began in April 2008. While lupus is a difficult disease to live with each day, I don’t want to let it become who I am. For all the challenges set before me since being diagnosed, such as no longer being able to fulfill my full-time job and struggling financially, I am grateful that the disease has also made me slow down and really enjoy my life.” Alex is excited that she will have an opportunity to meet and talk with other women with lupus at the retreat and learn how to best cope each day with lupus.

The Lupus Foundation of America is the nation’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for Lupus. The Indiana Chapter’s mission is to assist in this cause and provide services, help and hope to those affected by Lupus. The chapter office is located at 2642 Eleanor Street in Portage with office hours Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. For more information about support groups and other activities provided by the LFA, Indiana Chapter, please call 800-948-8806 or visit

Written by Jan Anderson for the LFA, Indiana Chapter.