An Ambassador for Lupus

Sep 12, 2013 No Comments by

Chris Cronick, the 2013 Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Ambassador, is a role model for us all. A fitness coach, spin instructor and motivational speaker, Chris has triumphed over some major health obstacles, and still maintains a positive attitude.

Hi, my name is Chris Cronick. I am sharing my story, raising awareness of lupus, and kicking-off this year’s Lupus Walk for Hope & 5K Saturday September 14th, at French Regional Park in Plymouth, MN.

I’m 38, and I have rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease, both of which are autoimmune diseases. I’m also the proud recipient of six artificial joints. Apparently I wasn’t quite finished adding on to my list of ailments because back in 2010, I suddenly became very sick and spent six months in and out of different hospitals. Many tests were done and finally, I was given a diagnosis of lupus.

Your body’s immune system is designed to protect you from disease and infection. If you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects many parts of a person’s body including: kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood and the largest organ of the body, the skin. Those of us with lupus MUST stay out of the sun or we risk a flare. A flare is a period of heightened disease activity which can range from mild to very severe, requiring hospitalization.

Case in point: Back in September of 2011, just one year after I was diagnosed with lupus, I learned my heart valves were damaged from a lupus related infection for which I would need open heart surgery. That is how crazy lupus can be. Fortunately, I was able to make a recovery that is nothing short of miraculous because now, I am a Motivational Speaker, Fitness Coach and Spin Instructor. You can learn more of my journey at: http://chrisinspires.com/.

Health and wellness are true passions for me and I do everything in my power to stay strong and healthy. I’m super excited to finally feel well enough to volunteer and raise awareness for this life altering disease which is what lead me to the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. LFM has been a tremendous support to me in many ways and a partner in my journey. In fact, while there, I was first introduced to Coolibar and it’s literally been a life-saver. I had no idea a company like this existed.

Prior to lupus, I was on several medications for rheumatoid arthritis that made me highly photosensitive. If I were out in the sun, I could burn more quickly and more intensely. Now that I have lupus, not only am I still on those same photosensitive medications, I must avoid the sun altogether to avert flares. Yes, it’s a double whammy but staying out of the sun is one way I can manage this disease. With that said, it’s not always so easy.

I’m fairly young and active, even though my body sometimes makes me think otherwise. If I’m feeling good on a beautiful summer day, I’d rather not sit inside for fear of a flare–especially because I live in Minnesota and we only have a three-month long summer! I want to get out there and enjoy the weather. Contrary to those who think we have snow year round, it gets very hot and humid here and to be outdoors in a traditional hoodie or long-sleeve shirt can be miserable. I’ve had the hardest time finding light-weight, comfortable, and fashionable clothes for outside until I discovered Coolibar. To know Coolibar is blocking 98% or greater of both UVA and UVB rays, and the clothes are also cool, is a bonus.

Coolibar has fast become a staple in my wardrobe. The fit, the feel and the function – I can’t wait to share my favorites with you all! I will be sporting some at our upcoming Lupus Walk for Hope & 5K next weekend. If you’re in Minnesota, join us for the Lupus Walk for Hope in any of these three areas.

Twin Cities (September 14); Rochester (September 28); or Duluth (October 5)

More to come soon.

-Chris Cronick

Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota.

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