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Author Topic: Emma Rutkowski~Lupus patient fights back  (Read 3628 times)
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« on: May 18, 2009, 05:32:46 am »

Lupus patient fights back with vim
Emma Rutkowski of Hamburg, plans to fight “the wolf.” But don’t confuse her with Little Red Riding Hood.

Emma, a Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart senior, battles lupus—Latin for “wolf.” She has dedicated herself to founding a research facility in the future, focusing on auto-immune diseases, like lupus.

The 17-year-old is already on that path with an internship at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

“I’m the type of person who has an immense amount of willpower. When there’s something I want, I try as hard as I can until I get it,” concedes Emma, who’s also volunteered at Hospice and Roswell Park Cancer Institute research labs.

“Yes, this disease has stopped me from doing certain things, such as staying out in the sun all day.”

Then there are instances of “feeling fatigued and having joint pain, most of the time,” adds Emma, who plans to earn a Ph. D. in immunology.

However, Emma points out that as “a young woman living with systemic lupus, I’ve become very interested in immunology and genetics. I’m obviously aware of the symptoms and treatments for the disease. But I want to know more about the disease on a molecular level.

“My mother also has systemic lupus, and I want to know how systemic lupus, and other auto-immune diseases, relate to the genetics of a certain group of people.” When Emma was diagnosed, her mom, Katharine Pulkownik, admits she felt “so depressed knowing that my daughter would have to go through what I have—pain, tests, medicines, feeling tired and sick. But I had to accept what God gave her, and tackle her disease the best way we knew how, too. What I’ve witnessed has amazed me.

“I look at Emma and wish I could have half the strength she has; she looks at me and wonders how I live with my lupus. I jokingly tell people my Emma will find a cure for all these auto-immune diseases—and I really think she will. Emma’s had many challenges trying to adjust to her chronic illness, but she’s come out a winner every time.”

Emma will study biology, with a concentration in immunology and genetics, this fall at Duquesne University.

Lupus is a puzzling, chronic, inflammatory illness in which the immune system can assault healthy tissues and organs. Patients can become so fatigued, sore and sick they can barely get out of bed. They may suffer a tell-tale butterfly-shaped rash on their faces. Symptoms can run from mild to severe, and mysteriously appear and disappear. Lupus, some researchers believe, might be increasing. However today with earlier diagnosis and careful treatment, in most cases it’s controllable.

Emma is the best proof of that. She’s won awards for her volunteer work. Participating in the Erie County Youth Leadership Program, she’s even reached out to others in need, in groups like Amnesty International. “I’m not sitting around, letting this disease take over,” she vows. “You only get one life.”

SOURCE: Google
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I look normal, as I have an "Invisible Illness". You can not catch it, you can not see it. It's called Lupus.My body is attacking itself on the inside.
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