The Jamaica Gleaner: Danielle Hall: Living With Lupus - Part I

8 Feb 2019 9:02 AM | Anonymous

The Jamaica Gleaner, February 15, 2019 -  “I live as if I would die tomorrow; I live as if I could live forever.”-Danielle Hall

Sounds contradictory right? But that is the mantra that guides Danielle Hall as she is living with lupus.

According to Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body whether it is the skin, joints, and/or organs. Our immune system creates antibodies which protects the body from things that do not belong, but with lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between the bad tissues and the healthy tissues and, as a result, it creates antibodies that attack and destroy the healthy tissues. These usually cause inflammation, pain, and even worse, damage in various organs or parts of the body.

In as little as four months, two prominent Jamaicans have died from this illness; comedienne and media personality Elva Ruddock died on October 7, 2018 and Miss Jamaica 2014 finalist, Zandrea Bailey died January 13. Both of whom did not allow the illness to take over their lives, but like Hall, has aimed to live a fulfilling life despite the often debilitating symptoms of lupus.

Hall shared with The Gleaner that she was diagnosed with lupus after she had an infection.

“I was officially diagnosed with lupus in 2011 after contracting meningitis in 2008,” Hall stated. After treating the meningitis, she had kidney infections and seizures which included severe pain. “I had back-to-back kidney infections following the meningitis and was later told that I have fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis because they did not know what was happening,” Hall stated.

She explained that she started to experience almost all the signs and symptoms of lupus, except the butterfly rash, but it was not until a second antinuclear antibody (ANA) test-the first test was negative- was done, that she got the confirmation that she has lupus and her life changed since then.

“I remember when I was at UWI-at the time I was a part-time student- and I was working while studying,” she stated, “I would go to work from 7:00 a.m. and leave at 8 a.m. for my class at 9 a.m., only to leave UWI at 11 a.m. to go back to work until 4:30 p.m. when I would leave for classes until 9 p.m.,” Hall said.

As a result of this, Hall had a seizure and had to sit out the remainder of the semester due to stress and being overworked.

She further explained that surviving lupus is about support and knowing one's condition.

“No lupus case is the same so what affects me, may not affect someone else,” she said, “But having someone to talk to, someone to be there for you through the small things, it makes a world of difference.”

Hall’s main support system was her mother, but tragedy struck in 2016 when her mother died.

“My mother was my rock through my diagnosis and the ups and downs of my illness,” Hall explained. “I remember coming out of the hospital January 2016 after a huge flare up and by February my mother was admitted.”

She said it was difficult making several trips to the hospital to visit her mother, while she juggled everyday life with lupus. Her mother died a week after Hall completed her final exams at UWI.

“I remember that I was diagnosed with the Zika virus during the days leading up to my mother’s funeral and I didn’t go to the hospital because I couldn’t picture being at the hospital and my mother wouldn’t be there to visit,” Hall recalled.

She is grateful for the support from her immediate and church family and close friends, along with groups that she is a part of because they have helped her to cope. She looks to the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, but mainly depends on the ladies in her WhatsApp group to encourage her while she does the same for them.

“We started with approximately seven persons and now there are over 20 of us in the group, but we lost four people between 2014 and now,” Hall explained.

According to lupus.org at least five million people worldwide are affected by lupus and 16,000 new cases are reported each year.

Hall stated that sharing her story is not for pity, but to encourage others who are living with lupus, and motivate them. (Link to Full Article

Miss Jamaica World Khalia Hall to join with Government and Medical Societies to support World Lupus Day Observance


Khalia Hall, the reigning Miss Jamaica World, is demonstrating the philosophy of Beauty with a Purpose as she lends her time and influence to the cause of Lupus Awareness.

Miss Jamaica World is one of several well-known personalities that have endorsed the efforts of the Foundation over the years to promote awareness about Lupus.  “I feel grateful to be able to use my platform as Miss Jamaica World to help the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica to raise awareness around this debilitating disease.” 

On May 10, Lupus Foundation of Jamaica will be joining in with lupus groups across the world in observance of  World Lupus Day 2022 under their own theme LUPUS LEVEL UP: Make Lupus Visible.  According to Dr Desiree Tulloch-Reid, President, the campaign will have an Island wide reach through media interviews and promotions, poster displays, a social media campaign and Awareness walks dubbed “Make Strides for Lupus” across the Island and will culminate in a World Lupus Day Ceremony and mini-health fair at Emancipation Park, New Kingston, on May 10, 2022.  “We will be engaging all our members, supporters, media partners, Government, community organisations, the public at large and all our online and social media to increase awareness of lupus, specifically this year emphasising the impact of lupus on the body’s organs.”  

Ms Hall will be supporting the LUPUS LEVEL Up campaign by a video endorsement for social media and being photographed in the purple T-shirt bearing the Campaign theme.  She will also attend the Foundation’s key event, a free mini-health fair at Emancipation Park, and take part in an official Opening Ceremony at 12:00 pm in tandem with the  Minister of State in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Hon Juliette Cuthbert-Flynn who will declare the event open.

Also present at the free event at Emacipation Park will be representatives of several health Professional Associations including Medical Association of Jamaica, Dermatology Association of Jamica, Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica and Jamaica Physiotherapy Association as well as Mandeville Regional Hospital Nephrology Unit, who will interact with the public and provide health talks and demonstrations.  National Health Fund will provide free health screening in tandem with the Diabetes Association of Jamaica.  A live broadcast on Riddim FM 102 with host Vernon Derby will also feature conversations with health professionals, volunteers and persons living with Lupus, as well as reports from participants in awareness walks and other activities across the Island.

The public is invited to wear purple on Tuesday May 10 in solidarity, to participate in local activities and make donations to the Foundation towards support services for persons with Lupus. Further information is available at the Foundation’s website www.lupusfoundationjamaica.org or by contacting 8767548458.


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Email: info@lupusfoundationjamaica.org


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