At Right Way Medical, we are often inspired by the stories we hear and the people we meet. Recently we connected with an amazing customer named Jodi Norton. While helping Jodi with the items she needed, we were able to connect with her and learn more about her life. Her story is an inspiration and well worth sharing.
Jodi suffers from a life-threatening, chronic, autoimmune disease: Lupus. Lupus is one of America’s least recognized major diseases and affects more than 1.5 million Americans. She explained that lupus is hard to live with because it is frequently misunderstood, unpredictable (as symptoms wax and wane) and it is an “invisible disease.” Jodi stated: “Many with lupus don’t look sick so people tend to question their suffering. And there is a lack of awareness surrounding the disease that strikes young women during the prime of their life.”
“In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs — the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.” – Lupus Research Institute
In 1993, Jodi was officially diagnosed while attending Columbia College, NYC after an ER visit at Mt. Sinai Hospital. After the diagnosis, Jodi was told by doctors to retire her swimsuit. Diving was Jodi’s passion and identity. Jodi’s diving coach at Columbia, Gordon Spencer, was supportive of her decision to continue to fight. Coach Gordon described her as “intensively driven” and knew she would still be competitive on the boards and in the classroom.
Complications from Lupus, including fevers, arthritis, profound fatigue, bouts of meningitis, a brain stem lesion, pericarditis (inflammation around the heart) and painful inflammation of the vessels often barred her from her studies and athletics. She refused to let her Lupus stop her – competing every chance her body would allow. She would go on to win the ECAC Award of Valor, and met President Bill Clinton at the White House in recognition of her perseverance. She was also able to graduate with a 3.7 GPA in Neuroscience.
Jodi didn’t let her illness stop her from getting the most out of college, but her fight against Lupus was just beginning. In 2001, Jodi co-founded the Lupus Inspiration Foundation for Excellence (L.I.F.E.) after undergoing a bone marrow transplant as part of a study for severe lupus. L.I.F.E.’s twofold mission is to promote lupus awareness and provide merit-based scholarships—to students courageously overcoming the hardships of lupus. The L.I.F.E. Foundation is responsible for helping over 100 students from 35 different states attend college. The foundation’s website provides plenty of additional resources that help people learn more about the disease and how to fight it (blogs, nutrition, FAQ, advice and more.)
At Right Way Medical we are proud to work with customers like Jodi. And Jodi states: “I am so grateful to have found Right Way Medical. It is nice to work with a company that cares about helping people in difficult situations. They treated me with respect and without judgment, which isn’t common among patients with chronic conditions. Thank you is just not enough to express how much they have helped me.” If you would like to learn more about Jodi, L.I.F.E and lupus, we encourage you to visit lifescholarship.org.