FREEPORT, Fla. (WMBB) — Imagine getting a medical diagnosis you weren’t expecting. That’s what happened to a Freeport woman, who is now using her situation to unite her community.
Christine Stearns-Houde was diagnosed with Lupus four years ago after she was hospitalized after a stroke.
With that diagnosis came difficult life changes.
“One being I wasn’t able to work anymore, I couldn’t drive. I had nothing to do, nothing to give me satisfaction or feel like I am making a difference,” Stearns-Houde said.
Christine turned to the Lupus Foundation, where she became an ambassador and raised $6,000 for them in her first year, through bingo nights.
Shortly after she moved from Colorado to Freeport, bringing the idea of monthly bingo nights with her.
“It’s just to bring the community together, bring awareness, and we have fun, we play bingo. All the cards, and the donations from the cards go directly to the Lupus Foundation. The first month I am pretty proud, we raised almost $600 and last month almost $500,” Stearns-Houde said.
Lupus is a disease that manifests in many different ways.
9 out of 10 Lupus patients are women and it’s considered a leading cause of death in young women.
The most common symptoms are extreme fatigue, a butterfly-shaped rash on your face, cognitive issues, and hair loss.
“But it’s not just about fundraising, the donation part, it is about bringing awareness,” Stearns-Houde said. “I’ve met so many people that have Lupus, who needed a resource who wanted to talk to someone who has lupus. I am hoping to change that so more and more people that I can meet that I can talk about my disease and they might know somebody or maybe they have it too and bring this community together to show it so everybody know about Lupus and it is so important that you have support.”
Right now, there is no cure for Lupus.
The next Bingo Night for Lupus will be at the Blount House at 541 Kylea Laird Drive in Freeport on September 30.
For more information, you can email her at Info.NWFLupus.org. or visit the website.