A Corona del Mar woman who has lived with lupus for 25 years has been included in a newly released video to promote Lupus Awareness Month.
Bridget Hood, 42, has been in remission, but she struggled to control her disease for years after diagnosis, eventually receiving a kidney transplant in 2006; read our story about her here.
“I was so honored that I was asked to take part in the filming of this video,” she said in a recent email interview. “I really didn’t have a role model when I was younger and very sick but I somehow just believed that I could get better, and I want to show people that they too can get better and live a normal life…People need to know that there is hope.”
As part of patient advocacy, Hood contributed to a video that went live last week to mark World Lupus Day and Lupus Awareness Month; click here to see the video.
The goal of the video and online campaign is to encourage people with lupus to speak “out loud” about their symptoms — a movement inspired by a survey that found that 52 percent of lupus patients report minimizing their symptoms when speaking to their doctors. The survey also showed that 87 percent of patients minimize their pain and worries to avoid upsetting family members.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans. About 90 percent of people diagnosed with lupus are women, and the disease is more common in women of African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent than in caucasian women. The disease’s symptoms affect many parts of the body, range from mild to severe and come and go, and diagnosis can take years.
Hood said she was diagnosed quickly after her first symptoms appeared during high school in the late 1980s, but her symptoms were not controlled for years, and in June 2005, she suffered complete kidney failure. Her brother, Corona del Mar High School graduate Nick Hood, donated a kidney, and she had a successful transplant on Jan. 27, 2006.
Today, Hood says she is “feeling great,” and that reaching out to other lupus patients is an important part of her life. Besides filming the video and speaking at conferences, she also leads a family support group at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at University United Methodist Church at 18422 Culver Blvd. in Irvine.
“I know what it’s like to be scared and uncertain about having a chronic illness, and I know that helping others with this disease is my calling and my life’s work,” she said.