HEALTH WATCH: Page One nominee paints portrait of teacher to raise Lupus awareness

Health Watch

A Russell County High School senior hopes his Page One project will inspire you to learn more about Lupus. This debilitating, chronic autoimmune disease happens when your body’s own immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.

His English and Drama teacher, Trecarya Mitchell is so open about her disease, Tyler wanted his Page One project to have meaning. Mitchell was just the inspiration he needed. He scheduled a photo shoot with her, and brought one of the photos to life on this canvas.

“Basically the mask is supposed to represent what we see everyday. But the face is supposed to represent the pain. Her lupus, you know her butterfly rash, is going to be on there and it’s just supposed to represent what’s really going on and what people don’t actually see,” said Tyler.

For years Mitchell says she’s battled through pain, the inability to walk, facial swelling, and a burning rash from head to toe. Mitchell says she was a junior at Tuskegee University when the disease first reared its head. It took 11 doctors and a trip to UAB to get a diagnosis. She says at least one of her professors simply did not understand her struggle.

“Had I left college and went back home, everyone would have been ok with that. No one would have spoke negatively about me. They would have all just accepted the fact. But I had to decide that I had so much more to give to the world, that God had birthed something in me that was not supposed to sit in four walls,” said Trecarya Mitchell.

Tyler hopes to finish the portrait by the time he returns from the Christmas break. He plans to auction it off and donate the proceeds to the Lupus Foundation of America.

Approximately 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus.

To learn more about Lupus, click here .     

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