Actress Kellie Martin On What It's Like to Be Powerless Over Lupus
Photo: Kellie Martin by Sclero SoCal (Flickr).
You know her from many TV shows, most recently ER where she played a doctor. But she is actually just a kind, genuine woman with a husband, children, a home and a dog. She is far from the untouchable status that is sometimes put on celebrities. Kellie Martin shared her story on how she felt upon losing her sister at the young age of 19. Heather, Kellie’s sister, died of lupus. The loss of her sister has led Kellie Martin to promote Lupus awareness and encourage women to have themselves checked if they suspect they have the symptoms.
Kellie Noelle Martin is an American Actress who became popular for her roles in “Life Goes On” and “ER.” However, her famous role as Lucy Knight, a medical student, on “ER” was what made her realize about the struggles and pain of seeing someone die, especially if it’s someone close to your family. Kellie Martin recalled that losing her sister was a painful experience, which many families who have also lost a loved one to lupus would understand.
The mistaken diagnosis
Kellie had just gotten the role as Lucy Knight on ER when her sister Heather was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, and then a few months later, her sister died. The primary symptoms were intense muscle pain, inability to eat, abdominal pain, and stiff joints. She then recalled how the doctors were baffled when Heather’s condition worsened.
In fact, Martin’s sister was repeatedly misdiagnosed by doctors before she was finally diagnosed with lupus, but it was already too late. In an interview with The Infinite Mind, Kellie revealed that her sister went to see a total of seven doctors from reputable hospitals in Los Angeles but none of these doctors told them her sister was suffering from lupus. It was at the eighth doctor who finally diagnosed Martin’s sister with lupus.
The sad reality was that from jumping from one doctor to another comes treatments that were actually detrimental to her sister's other body organs. In the end, what really killed her sister were the previous treatments that caused her immune system to break down.
With lupus, giving medications and treatments has to be carefully monitored as these can affect the other organs of the body. In the case of Kellie Martin’s sister, it was a lung infection that ended up killing her.
Kellie teamed up with the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
After the death of her sister, Kellie Martin has worked with the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. Her main goal is simply to spread awareness about the symptoms of lupus. For her, if everyone has the knowledge and awareness of the disease, it would be easier to convince people to get themselves checked for lupus, thus preventing more complications in the future.
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association or AARDA is an organization founded in as early as 1991. The purpose of the organization is to bring focus to issues regarding immunity. Moreover, they also aim to collaborate and support education, research, and programs that would help bring focus to all autoimmune related diseases, such as lupus.