Healthy Living

Woman with Lupus Graduates Cum Laude

Woman with Lupus Graduates Cum Laude

Tiffany Uy graduates cum laude despite having lupus. Photo Source: Tiffany Uy's Facebook Page. Credit:

In Manila, struggling with a serious illness didn’t stop one girl from achieving her dreams of finishing her studies. Not only did she finish her studies but also passed with flying colors. Here is the story of Tiffany Uy.

In 2010, Tiffany Uy was diagnosed with erythematosus systematic lupus. This disease is an autoimmune disease which is a disease that the immune system starts to attack tissues of someone’s body. Initially, Tiffany thought that she could adjust and live a student life just like her classmates by adjusting to the demand of the college life. However, she started feeling the effects of her illness.

Tiffany graduated from Manila Science High School and enrolled at a university in Manila – University of the Philippines. Smoke from cars and jeepneys that passed Padre Faura streets worsened Tiffany’s situation, and doctors advised her to transfer to the University of Philippines – Diliman. Doctors told her that she would be okay since she will be exposed to less pollution.

Transferring schools

Initially, Tiffany felt the pressure to finish studying on time since she was in a block. However, when she transferred, she was on her own. She had that she had the same opportunity like any other student. Many students couldn’t afford school, and she wanted to prove a point to continue pursuing her dream and finish school. At first, Tiffany was scared of sharing her condition with her classmates and professors. She feared to tell them that she used to go to school with bandages on her ankles and knees. Sometimes she felt like quitting studies. She was advised to lessen her load, transfer to the University of Philippines Open University or take a leave of absence. 

Tiffany remembered breaking down several times. She had to drop several subjects in 2013 because she couldn’t walk to class. She used to climb three floors to talk to her professor, and the professor decided to drop her from the class. She felt discouraged. Not only did Tiffany felt that she was letting down some people but also felt scared to tell the professors that her illness was getting worse. She didn’t tell any of her professor about the sickness. She also felt embarrassed for letting down many people and was still scared to let them know of her sickness. She almost took a leave of absence when she felt like crying when she wanted to explain her condition. She had a bad feeling that people thought she was lazy and that she didn’t want to attend classes.

Keeping up her work

As classes continue and semesters passed, Tiffany gathered some courage and asked her professors for additional work so that she could make up for the classes she had missed. She felt embarrassed asking for help from her friends, but that didn’t stop her from asking them to tutor her in the subjects she had missed out. Her friends gave her time when she asked for it and also seat works and Power Points. During regular school days, Tiffany had to do some stretching when she woke up with stiff joints. The stretches prepared her before going to class in the morning. When she felt body pains, she would go to a gym for exercise. She would take naps also between breaks.

Beyond what is expected

When someone saw her with her health condition and the school work, he/she would think that Tiffany had not strength or time for other activities. However, the young girl continued to prove that her the medical condition that she had won’t stop her from perfecting her skills. Surprisingly, she even ran for student council three times, and she managed to be a counselor for skills development, and in her graduating year, she became a chairperson. The work of student council was to mobilize students to spread awareness on social issues and promote advocacies. She felt more satisfied when she worked as a council member as she met many amazing people.

Her perseverance and hard work had not gone in vain when she graduated cum laude.

When Tiffany was asked what motivated her to pursue her dreams, she said that she always thought about what she would have felt if she had given up when so young and healthy. She also stated that what pushed her never to give up despite the obstacles was the person she was when she was young. She used to think of other patients diagnosed with lupus and who experienced same symptoms and still could never give up. She added that the stories of how lupus patients were struggling continued to remind her of her blessings.

Tiffany still has health problems up to date, but she believes that she is much better than she was in 2010 when she was diagnosed with her medical condition.

There are always bad and good days, but she prefers counting more good days than the bad ones. She will count it a good day when she gets muscle pain in the knees because she will do some achievements such as a quick hop on a treadmill.


Now that college is over, and Tiffany would like to serve her country working for the government. However, she doesn’t have any particular position at the moment. Tiffany wants to put the skills acquired in practice. She has skills in management and knowledge in research. She also has a lot of things to learn, and she plans on tackling everything in steps.

Tiffany has a piece of advice for those who find it so hard to get used to their medical condition. Sometimes people will feel like giving up, and tiffany says that crying, breaking down and feeling anxious is okay. Sometimes people will feel worthless as they will feel that they are alone since no one understand what they are going through. However, they should never give up because there will be a difference between deciding to give up and trying again. People will expect difficulties along the way, but that should not discourage them. There will be victories as well, and that is what should matter. Tiffany will like to tell them that they should live happily but know the limitations. Always stay positive.

Patients with lupus might find it hard to get used to the disease especially when are first diagnosed. Some of them might feel that people do not understand them. It can be tough trying to fight a medical condition when there are many challenges, but giving up should never be an option. Being motivated is one of the best ways of achieving one's goals. Tiffany has proven that anything is possible even when faced with complicated circumstances. If she had not motivation, then she won’t have completed her studies.


Lupus affects many people around the world, and there are support groups that help the patients. People share stories of the difficult situation they have been into. But most of them never gave up. In fact, their stories even motivated them to move forward.

Family, friends, and colleagues are always willing to help, and when faced with a difficult situation like when Tiffany was faced on her studies, she turned to her friends to help her study the subjects she had missed. It can never be easy, but then only the victories will motivate one to continue in meeting their dreams. Victories come with continued struggle even when faced with difficulties.  

Key Takeaways

  • She transferred schools to be in an environment more suitable for her condition.
  • Tiffany faced many obstacles, and getting to her classes was not always easy.
  • When Tiffany was faced with difficulty in her studies, she turned to her friends to help her study the subjects she had missed.