8 People Who Win at Life Despite Lupus

Living with lupus can come with its share of ups and downs. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the immune system to attack its own organs and tissues. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Lupus may give rise to seasons of flares and remission, but many people living with lupus have found a way to thrive despite its unpredictability.

Instead of allowing the disease to push the pause button on life, these men and women are boldly stepping out to show lupus who’s boss. From weightlifters and fashion models to CrossFit trainers and authors, these real-life heroes are sure to inspire and motivate anyone living with a chronic illness.

1. Megan Benzik

Benzik was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 12. She shares that it was her mother’s support that helped her get through the initial fear of having an incurable disease. Hand in hand, they vowed to fight. This fight included an intense focus on clean eating, extra rest, weight training, and low-impact exercises. The effects weren’t instant, but Benzik trusted the process. Over time, she felt improvements in her pain, mobility, and mindset.

While she still lives with fatigue, brain fog, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and an occasional rash, she refuses to let lupus set limitations on her life. Today, Benzik is a popular CrossFit coach and athlete who competed at the CrossFit Games Regionals in May 2017.

2. Elijah Julian Samaroo

Elijah Samaroo is just 21 years old and already leaving quite a mark on the world around him. With an intense passion for graphic, web, and clothing design that grew during his teenage years, Samaroo started his own clothing company, SAFii, after high school.

Though diagnosed with Class IV lupus nephritis and currently living with end-stage renal disease, he lives with a positive outlook on life. He’s missed out on special moments because of lupus, like segments of high school and homecoming. But Samaroo says he can still find joy each day, whether working with celebrities in California or designing on his laptop while in the hospital.