Plus size model Cambria Francesca still manages to slay, despite having lupus.
Photo: @cambriaplusmodel (Instagram)
For fashion model Cambria Francesca, lupus has been a big part of her life and her career. A recent photo shoot snapped her showing off her figure with the word strong written across her stomach. It was to tell the world, that her battle with the disease has made her stronger and more beautiful. She plans on continuing to spread the word through her work, online and in social media.
Women of color are more likely to suffer from lupus; in fact they are three times more likely to develop the condition.
Lupus a chronic condition that affects up to 5 million people worldwide. It can target anybody but tends to affect women in the childbearing ages. There is no cure for the disease and once a person is diagnosed with it, they have it for life.
Every year, as many 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported but, many go years without even knowing that they have the disease. It can remain completely dormant or it can flare-up repeatedly. Every case is different.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means it causes the body to attack its normal healthy tissue ‘thinking that something is wrong it with’. Depending on the case, people may be affected in a variety of ways and at varying degrees. This means that some people may suffer from mild kidney disease or skin rashes and others will have to deal with heart, lung and kidney disease, live with chronic pain and become sun intolerant.
Sharing Their Journey with Lupus
Over the years, more and more celebrities have come out to share their experiences with lupus. Most recently, Selena Gomez, who openly shared her journey with lupus and the resulting kidney transplant. Other famous people include Nick Cannon and Toni Braxton, who are both very active advocates for patients.
One of the biggest challenges with the disease is that many people, particularly in the communities who are most at risk, don’t know enough about it. That’s why the work of people like Cambria Francesca is critical.
Francesca could have easily hidden her disease from employers and fans alike, pretending like nothing was wrong. Instead, recognizing the need to educate people, she opted to share her story with the world.
Every time she posts behind the scenes pictures she makes sure to share facts about lupus like:
- The fact that 1 in every 537 young black women are affected by the disease
- The fact that there are 4 different types of lupus out there including: Systemic lupus (most common), Cutaneous lupus, drug induced lupus and neonatal lupus.
- The fact that up to 65% of all lupus patients say that chronic pain is the most difficult part of living with lupus
- The fact that lupus patients can easily lose upwards of $20,000 annually due to medical bills or sick days from work
- The fact that lupus symptoms can vary greatly from person to person making it difficult to diagnose, treat and to see
- The fact that there is no known cure for lupus nor is there a known cause
- The fact that some of the most common symptoms include: headaches, extreme bone crushing fatigue, fever, a butterfly rash across the nose and cheese, fever and swelling of joints. All of which make lupus very difficult to diagnose
- The fact that there are a number of treatment options that have varying degrees of effectiveness depending on how severe case
- The fact that lupus can have a negative effect on many parts of life
- The fact that lupus affects more than just the patient it can affect relationships and family dynamics, especially when one person is dealing with a flare-up
As a plus size model, Cambria Francesca works hard to leave her mark on the world. She is passionate about sending out positive messages about body image and is determined to never let anything that she can’t control stop her. She often uses social media to share her accomplishments and her challenges. She has no control over having the disease, but she can control how she deals with it.
Dealing with a Disease like Lupus
Since lupus affects everyone differently, it may take a few trial and errors before finding the key to living with lupus. For example, if being out in the sun is a potential trigger for a lupus flare-up, make a habit of hanging out in the shade, wearing long sleeves, hats and sunscreen can help.
Cambria, suffers from chronic pain, one of the most common side effects of the disorder. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to live and thrive with a disease like lupus. This means that if she has a big photo shoot coming-up, Cambria needs to make sure that she is going into it fully rested. That also means, avoiding making too many plans - in other words, one activity a day. She knows that she can’t do a photoshoot in the afternoon followed by a night out on the town. Being overtired is an open door for a lupus flare-up to walk through throw anyone off.
It’s clear that Cambria Francesco has not let her lupus slow her down. By learning how to manage it, and work with it, she has propelled her career and continues to do so through her modelling and advocacy work. Her wonderful attitude towards living with her disorder and normalizing body diversity for all models and all, of all shapes and sizes out there, has led her to working for brands like Premme and Swimsuits for all.
There is no doubt that Cambria’s career will continue to flourish. There is also no doubt that she will continue to advocate for those with lupus. Cambria Francesco is a role model that not only puts a face to a chronic and often misunderstood disease like lupus but also, sends out wonderful empowering messages about positive body image.