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Living with Lupus
Liz Attfield
Liz Attfield’s lupus nearly prevented her from having a child. Her daughter, Molly, is now eight years old

Krembil researchers have studied lupus for half a century. They’re now looking at new ways of treating, and potentially stopping, this debilitating disease

THIS SUMMER, LIZ ATTFIELD hopped into her car and drove for two hours to Muskoka, a cottage community north of Toronto. The Rolling Stones were playing a rare outdoor show, and she wasn’t going to miss it. However, attending a concert under the blazing sun and with thousands of other people isn’t easy for Attfield. She suffers from lupus erythematosus, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body can attack the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.

Indeed, the event led to a flare-up. “I was outside all weekend – and the sun isn’t good for lupus,” she says. “I only have so much energy, and I have to be careful about expending it.”

As one of the 35,000 Canadians who have lupus – it usually strikes between the ages of 15 and 44 – Attfield is well versed in pain management. She’s been dealing with symptoms since she was 14. “I had gone trick-or-treating and I could barely walk up the stairs,” says the now 44-year-old marketing and fundraising executive.