Tracy Darden of Live Life Foundation

Jeuron Dove | September 10th, 2014
Tracy Darden (Photo by Miles Darde)

Tracy Darden (Photo by Miles Darden)

Receiving the news that you’ve been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness is a tough blow for anyone to overcome. It’s a scenario that Greensboro native, Tracy Darden knows all too well. She was diagnosed with lupus in 2006.

“I began feeling intense fatigue and a loss of appetite. Eventually, it escalated to the point where I had temporary loss vision in my left eye,” says Tracy. “It came as a complete shock.”

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. Common symptoms include inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart and lungs. Historically, lupus caused people to die young. Today, with regular treatment and follow-up, the majority of people with lupus can expect to lead a normal, productive life.

According to data from the Lupus Foundation of America, it is estimated that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus with more than 16,000 new cases being reported annually across the country.

Having a condition of this magnitude would seem like a license for continual pessimism, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone with a more infectiously optimistic outlook on life than Tracy. Her husband of 20 years, Miles Darden, is a constant source of support who she describes as being her best friend, nurse and biggest cheerleader.

While some days are better than others, Tracy doesn’t consider herself a victim. “After finding out I had lupus, I asked God where I fit into the grand scheme of things. He instructed me to inspire myself and others.” Tracy realized that the best way to follow God’s instructions was to create an outlet to help others affected by lupus.

In 2012, Tracy founded the Live Life Foundation, an organization that strives to uplift, inspire, and encourage those diagnosed with lupus by providing positive strategies to help them deal with the health issues, mental challenges, and emotional struggles that the disease sometimes causes. They participate in health fairs for the Lupus Foundation of America’s Winston Salem/Triad chapter and North Carolina A & T State University’s Delta Sigma Theta chapter.

The foundation will host its Suite Life Charity Fashion Show: Fashion Forward for Lupus!, on Thursday, September 11, at the Revolution Mills Studio in Greensboro. The black tie affair will feature live music and entertainment with all proceeds going toward lupus research. The event merges health and wellness with Tracy’s lifelong appreciation for fashion. She is putting 100 percent of her energies into making it a success. Just as she has done over the last several years, Tracy refuses to let lupus get the best of her. “If there is one piece of advice that I could give to encourage those going through similar situations then it would be for them to use whatever God-given ability they possess to slay the enemy in their lives.”

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