Olympic Inspiration: Olympians Battling Autoimmune Diseases.

There were many inspirational stories coming out of the Tokyo Olympics. However one that may have particularly stood out to the LFJ community was that of Kirani James of Grenada. The 2012 400 m Olympic champion experienced major setbacks this after his diagnosis with the autoimmune condition Grave's disease in 2017 and the loss of his mother in 2019.  But on August 5, against a stellar line up, James staged an amazing comeback to win a Bronze medal, his third consecutive Olympic medal in that event. 

Graves disease, like Lupus, is an autoimmune condition, but targets primarily the thyroid gland, a gland at the front of the neck that produces hormones critical for regulating the body’s metabolism, and sometimes also the tissues behind the eyes.

James’ story recalls that of other athletes who have fought autoimmune disorders to stand out in their fields. One such person is famed US Olympian Gail Devers who battled severe Grave's disease that threatened to end her career. After embarking on an intensive and lifelong treatment programme, Devers came back to win consecutive Olympic Gold in Barcelona and Atlanta.  She continued to compete with distinction until age 40 and today remains an advocate for Grave's disease awareness with the goal of making sure that millions affected “are under a doctor’s care”.  She told CNN news:

"I believe I'm stronger at having to go through what I went through ... Everybody's faced with challenges. We all feel like sometimes walls are closing in on us and there's no way out. What do you do? You remember that strength and resilience that you have when you step on the line."   

Off the track, famous tennis champion Venus Williams braved debilitating symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome for 7 years before being diagnosed in 2011, coming back to win gold in 2012 and 2016 Olympics. In an interview with Prevention Magazine in 2019, Williams had this advice for persons battling autoimmune disease. "Don’t be discouraged, because what [you're] going through is similar to other people," she says. "Talk to those people who understand you or have a similar condition, reach out, and build a [support] team. Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t give up."

As we salute our athletes who gave their all in Tokyo, we want to also recognise all our brave lupus warriors, everyday heroes who who defy the challenges and continue to step out on the line of life each day and inspire others. We salute you!

Grenada's Kirani James celebrates winning the bronze medal in the men's 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Olympic Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Venus Williams
Photo Credit:



THIS THURSDAY: August 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm

 "Lupus Do's & Don'ts" 

Presenter veteran warrior and pharmacist Ms Claudette Hobbins. Come hear and share your tips for living well with Lupus

Ms Claudette Hobbins
Presenter, veteran warrior and pharmacist



THE LUPUS FOUNDATION OF JAMAICA - many options available online follow link below.


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September 1, 2021:  

Covid-19 & Vaccine Update -
Your Questions Answered. 

streaming live on Facebook and YouTube pages: 

Infectious Disease Expert Dr Audene Garrison will be our guest hosted by our own Dr Taneisha McGhie-Phillips, Rheumatologist


Your Host:
Dr. Taneisha McGhie-Phillips


October 3 
Church Service to launch Lupus Awareness Month - Church of St Margaret (Liguanea) - virtual - 7:30 am

October 18 
Laps for Lupus Awareness Virtual Event - 6 - 8 pm

October 31
Annual Lupus Symposium
10 am - 2 pm

The focus this year
is on Children & Youth with Lupus. 

Share Your Story!

Share Your Story! Our stories are some of our most powerful weapons in the Fight against Lupus - helping raise awareness and encouraging our fellow warriors.

Send us your story in 200 words or less or your 60 sec video clip by September 12, 2021 to be included in our Lupus Awareness Month campaign for October 2021.

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Children and Youth with Lupus: 

If you are a young person or child living with lupus, a parent or an adult who developed lupus before age 18, we want to hear from you as we focus this year on better understanding,
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