The Kelly Fund for Lupus Inc.
The story of two friends
Kelly is a dear friend of Style You Gorgeous' owner, Stephanie Brillant. To better understand why Style You Gorgeous is a big supporter of The Kelly Lupus Fund Inc, you would have to hear the story of both Stephanie and Kelly's encounter with Lupus.
In 2007, Stephanie was diagnosed, by dermatologists, with Discoid Lupus of the skin. Stephanie suffered from chronic acne through her teen and young adult years and she had been under the care of over 10 dermatologists, whom all prescribed her a series of medication in both topical and oral forms. Then in 2007, Stephanie noticed dark patches along side her eye area and the week of her college graduation she had a biopsy done to her eyelids. Test results reported Dermatitis, however one dermatologist insisted that it was Discoid Lupus of the skin. Stephanie was prescribed Plaquenil in a topical form and was told that she would have to see an Ophthalmologist weekly, as one of the side effects to using Plaquenil around the eye area was blurriness or loss of slight vision to the eyes. When Stephanie informed her mother, who is a Registered Nurse, her mother said that there was no way that Stephanie would begin using that medication, especially since there was no blood work done to test for Lupus. After undergoing a series of blood work and testing throughout that year, it was confirmed that Stephanie was misdiagnosed and did not have Lupus. This was a moment of relief and disappointment because for years Stephanie, as many others do, but her health in the hands of dermatologists and here she was misdiagnosed and given a medication that could have ultimately been detrimental to her sight. Her story is shared to simply show that second and third or more opinions are absolutely needed when it comes to one's health before resorting to everything a medical professional recommends.
A few months after being misdiagnosed with Discoid Lupus, Stephanie attended her very first Mary Kay skin care class in November 2007. Stephanie fell in love with the medication-free product that has since helped her issues with acne. What she loved the most was that there was a formal consultation and assessment to her skin as opposed to the dermatologists that just prescribed medication after medication with out any extensive assessment or profile to her skin. Not to mention she spent several hours waiting to see the doctor for a few brief minutes with not much dialogue between she and the doctor in regards to her skin needs and issues. Yet, she seemed to be on the doctor's schedule every 6-8 weeks for years. After giving the Mary Kay skin care a try Stephanie saw such great results in a few short months and was ecstatic that she no longer had to experience using many harsh and toxic chemicals to her skin.
As a result, one of her last visits to the dermatologists in early 2008 the doctor charted that Stephanie's skin had changed for the better and the dermatologists also assumed that Stephanie was using all five medications that was prescribed to her. Stephanie informed the doctor that she had started using Mary Kay's Classic Basic Formula 3 Line and the doctor was quite shocked and that was the last visit to any dermatologist for Stephanie. May 2011 has marked 3 years since Stephanie has built her own successful Independent Mary Kay Cosmetics business and had even made it to the esteemed position of Independent Sales Director in October of 2009. Stephanie now takes pride in educating women, men and teens on daily and healthy skin care practices in her community. As well as educating and sharing facts about cancers that affect women as a part of supporting the Mary Kay Charitable Foundation.Stephanie's mission is to spread awareness about various ailments that affect women as well as touch on issues related to women's health & beauty. Her goal is to meet new phenomenal women everyday and get to know them by holding 5 beauty & health appointments weekly. In 2010, Stephanie met women who were also affected by Lupus while attending an Ardyss Life presentation and heard the many testimonies of people who were affected by ailments such as Lupus, Cancer, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. She learned about the daily nutritional vitamins and supplements that became a part of these individual's daily lifestyles that enabled their bodies to ultimately rejuvenate itself medication-free. It all makes sense to understand that health in fact starts from the inside out.
How Lupus reunited two friends
It wasn't until reconnecting with her long lost high school friend, Kelly, via a social networking site, that Stephanie began to research more about Lupus. At the time of learning about Kelly's battle with Lupus, Stephanie made it a point to begin sharing awareness about the disease through her skin care classes as well as through Kelly's Fund for Lupus Inc.
The Kelly Fund for Lupus Inc. (click to view the full website) was founded in May 2008 by Brenda Blackmon. Her daughter, Kelly, contracted lupus and vowed after her life threatening recovery to make a difference in combating this disease.
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys.
Much of the money raised by the Kelly Fund goes to the Alliance for Lupus Research and in other ways by promoting awareness and understanding of the disease.
“Lupus is three times more common among African American Women…and more common in women of Hispanic, Asian and Native American Descent.”
*Visit the website today and see how you can make a difference in changing the lives of individuals affected by Lupus. Ask how you can raise funds for the cause*
Get a copy of Brenda Blackmon's book at
Kelly speaks at an
AKA Luncheon 5-6-12
First I'd like to thank the women of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Iota Epsilon Omega Chapter for this invitation to speak, I’m honored. When Mrs. Wilson asked me to speak; I can honestly say……. The first thing that came to my mind was what could I say? What should I say? I’m not “famous”, I’m not a dignitary. I wasn’t a millionaire before the age of 18, a kid star or a child prodigy. I prayed, talked to some family & friends. Then it hit me!
I'd like to briefly talk about "Finding your purpose". I tried to think back roughly 10 years ago. My state of mind, my maturity level, my dreams, goals & aspirations….. When I was 17 & 18 years old……I was thinking of RIGHT NOW! I can humbly admit that I could not even grasp the concept of “delayed gratification”. Delayed Gratification is tough! So I’m pretty sure that is where most of you are…….. You’re probably thinking….Okay! I’ve been accepted to college, in 4 years I’ll graduate& find a job in my chosen career field after all I’ve spent 4 years in college someone must GIVE me a job. Then I’m set! Well, what’s your “Plan B”? What if you don’t graduate in 4 years? What if it takes 6 years? What if you don’t get that job in your intended career field? You majored in Communications, but you can’t find a job. You majored in Criminal Justice because you wanted to be a police officer, but the only jobs you seem to be qualified for right now are secretarial positions.
The plan YOU want is not always the plan God designed for you to have.
I knew I was going to graduate from college, take the LSAT, get accepted into law school & at 28 years old I’d be an associate lawyer on my way to becoming a partner in a law firm. Well, I did graduate from college in 4 years & I was accepted to law school but I didn’t add into the equation being diagnosed with a chronic illness that would ultimately change my life.
Yes, I had a plan, but God a different one!
I was diagnosed with systemic & discoid lupus my junior year of college RIGHT smack in the middle of what was probably the busiest college semester for me. Lupus is extremely "tricky" a lot of times you don’t look bad, you don’t look sick. BUT YOU ARE! Others may see my “illness” as “life-hindering”, but in the past decade I’ve learned to look at my lupus diagnosis as a blessing.
The purpose of life is simply to live a life “of purpose”. Lupus education is my purpose~ I took the “detour” to God’s plan, but I did it! **Whatever road you take the answer to success lies in you looking, trusting & listening to God. **Life has so many lessons. What have I learned? Well, what I can tell you is ~ when I’m trying to achieve something; I’ve learned, there are no limits, only expectations. When you expect to do more, you will. There will always be naysayers~ defy the odds~ surprise them.
About a year after I graduated from college my Aunt Vivian gave me a book by Pastor& Author Rick Warren. I loved the book! In the book; Purpose Driven Life. Pastor Warren says Do what makes God smile. What makes God smile? “Like a proud parent, God especially enjoys watching you use the talents and abilities He has given you. God intentionally gifted us differently for His enjoyment. He has made some to be athletic, and some to be analytical. You may be gifted at mechanics or mathematics or music or a thousand other skills. All these abilities can bring a smile to God’s face.” To expound upon this, what I’m saying is…..FIRST YOU MUST FIND your talents & abilities. College will help you on that journey.
On that journey…….You shouldn't underestimate your potential. Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. You must believe that. For me, of course there were many bumps in the path & even some unexpected hurdles, but even in my darkest hour I had to believe to never underestimate myself. I STILL HAD A PURPOSE. Your true purpose always prevails over any problem. We often miss out on clear guidance and direction during pivotal moments of our lives because we simply fail to pray. Have faith and patience be an example for others to develop their own faith. You are one step away of using your gift on a higher platform. Your faith must match the responsibility and weight of your gift. Everyone who dares to share their gift may be criticized, demonized and sometimes even ridiculed. We all have to consider where WE stand in life; do not let opportunities pass by.
Each challenge and each obstacle that we face serves the purpose of building strong foundations we will later walk on. Remain faithful and continue trusting, because there are few places the extraordinary can occupy, but there are many places the ordinary can. Through the storm still continue to praise Him. He is still worthy.
Stay focused on God and on the course at hand and try not to worry about things you have no control over (recite the Serenity prayer to yourself whenever you need to)
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
It is my belief that God will allow things will fall into place at the appropriate time.
If you're not sure what your purpose is, take time to find out what it is. If you know what your purpose is, continue on…… in faith. What you have been called to do will not fail you. Have purpose behind your actions.
In the midst of my “lupus journey” my phenomenal Mother (who all my life has been my example & a pillar of a woman of faith & definitely a conqueror of adversity) in 2007 founded & incorporated The Kelly Fund for Lupus, Inc. a 501 © (3) to raise lupus awareness for everyone, but with an emphasis in minority communities where lupus disproportionally hits. I took over as President this past January; I have a new Board of Directors, I took a non-profit leadership training course & now I truly believe I’m using my talents and following the path God wants me to take. To educate & raise lupus awareness.
In closing, I'd be remiss if I did not say. God has a reason & a season for everything. God has a reason for allowing things to happen when they do & even when they don't. Appreciate today like it's your last regardless of the situation or circumstance. The fact that you're still here is indication that it's not over. And always, give thanks to God. There are times in life when we find ourselves in situations that will force us to stand still and reflect on how, why, and when we arrived to this particular place The situation can be hurtful & lonely, because we don't feel the presence of God. Whatever you're going through or whatever situation you may find yourself in, just call on the Lord and He will deliver you. Let your true passion drive you to your destiny.
We may never understand His wisdom, but we simply have to trust His will. Trusting Him will bring the right blessings. Trust that God has an incredible plan for your life. Trust in God's timing. He is in control. God has a path of success for you.