CariFin and the Voice of Lupus Foundation
CariFin is pleased to announce that it has continued to partner the Voice of Lupus Foundation which started in 2015. So what is the voice of Lupus Foundation? And why is this considered as a significant/important?
Well this year we at Carifin are celebrating a milestone…. some Twenty Five (25) proud years in the industry bringing health and fitness to the financial services industry. This is indeed an achievement and this year like in previous years it is being celebrated with a series of annual sporting events which usually starts with our signature event….the Torch Relay
The partnering with the Voice of Lupus Foundation is to assist in providing an awareness of the illness of Lupus and in doing so provides a tangible charitable donation from the proceeds of each our events towards the cause.
We invite you to join us on an exciting three part series as we explore the following topics:-
- The Voice behind the Voice of Lupus Foundation
- What is Lupus
- What it means to live with Lupus
So who is behind the Voice of Lupus Foundation?
Well we welcome the beautiful, effervescent and articulate ……….Reeanna Harrilal!
Reeanna describes herself as a Lupus survivor and the founder and president of the Voice of Lupus foundation; which is a registered charitable organization that has been in existence for the last six (6) years.
But the reality is that Reeanna is actually so much more, such a selfless giving person that is beautiful inside out. We had the privilege of interviewing Reeanna and her choice of setting was the backdrop of nature. This took us to the Palmiste Nature Park where we learned a little more about what she does with the Voice of Lupus Foundation.
Reeanna explains just a miniscule part of what her work as founder and president of the voice of Lupus foundation means:-
- To provide a platform of support for survivors
- Heighten public awareness of Lupus and its impact
- Provide support to those individuals who have been diagnosed and battling with Lupus
- Support for their families, friends and caregivers
- Most importantly they strive to give those who have Lupus a voice
Reeanna and her team at the “Voice of Lupus Foundation” hopes that by advocacy, education and creating awareness that:
- Bring National attention and resources to the disease
- Build Support for those affected
- Elevate Lupus to prominence on the National Healthcare Agenda
- Increase public understanding
The Voice of Lupus Foundation a Journey of Faith, Hope and Belief to become a Pillar of Strength
Reeanna explains that it was out of one of her own dark struggles with the disease of Lupus that by means of divine intervention she was inspired to start the foundation, “The Voice of Lupus” to help others like herself who were struggling to cope with the challenges.
With some fifteen (15) years experience in the Media Industry with a Career in broadcasting and television. Reeanna had just landed her dream job with a well known Television station. One month in, she caught the flu from her head of news; being a Lupus survivor it was not just the flu. She ended up being hospitalized for over three (3) weeks lung infection, pneumonia, lupus flare the works. The very next day after getting out of hospital she showed up for work and was terminated without even being allowed into her office and was escorted out of the building.
While this did have a devastating impact on her initially after three (3) days she was determined to let this conquer her. Reeanna has been a living with Lupus since at the age of 12; but was only received a confirmed diagnoses at age 22 while working at Gayelle a local Television station. At that time the doctor’s prognosis was not promising and her mother was advised of a life expectancy of a mere 25 years. But as Reeanna says with strong conviction that it has been by the grace and mercy of her God that she is now 33 years and continues to be Survivor and a pioneer in helping others. It has not been an easy journey coming to terms with the disease and she admits that in the early years she has had her bouts of depression even attempts at suicide. But Lupus has also thought her to become a better person, it has brought out her inner strength and helped her rely heavily on her relationship with her heavenly father.
Reeanna beaming with pride refers to the Voice of Lupus Foundation as her baby and boy what a fabulous mother she has been. And while not one to boast in just six years through tireless work and advocacy Reeanna was able to achieve what is considered as no easy feat:-
- Recognition by the Lupus Foundation of America who are the pioneers of research for the disease
- Reeanna was recognized locally by the Ministry of Youth and Child Development winning the 2015 National Youth Ally Award for her work in fostering greater awareness of Lupus in Trinidad and Tobago
- Reeanna was also featured in the cover story/article of our own Newsday Newspapers
- As the founder and a director of the Voice of Lupus foundation of Trinidad and Tobago she represented our country proudly by giving a feature speech/presentation via Skype in the US White Hall gaining the support of the US governors who are pioneering funding for research on Lupus
- The paved the way for her to represent not only Trindad and Tobago but the Caribbean at an International Conference in Austria. Austria you say? Well for those of you who may be familiar with the classic movie “The Sound of Music” this is the country where it was filmed; could you even imagine
- And next at the request of the President of Italy she was the guest speaker in Rome
Reeanna’s message and the way she lives her life as a Lupus survivor is clear: In sickness and adversity one could still shine.
Reeanna and The Voice of Lupus foundation continues to remain true to it’s mantra, that is to be a Pillar of Strength to others. From the partnering with Carifin in 2015 they were able to use the funds in the Hand of Hope initiative to provide clothes, food, mobility aids, medical supplies to Lupus survivors. How can you do your part?
- Volunteer of your time and resources
- Connect with the foundation online or on social media to learn more about how you can donate monetarily. It also features all local stories and voices of Lupus Survivors, another milestone for the foundation since we never had a forum like this before.
- Free seminars can be arranged with Reeanna as part of the awareness and understanding drive.
In partnering “Together” we can conquer Lupus!
In learning about the Voice of Lupus foundation you soon begin to realize that it is really about appreciating and celebrating life. As part of the celebration of life, no interview is complete without a “we fee” shot and of course we could not leave out our videographer, so we are sharing our pics.
Be sure to look out for our next part in the series that looks at “What is Lupus”?
|Hi I am Lisa Hernandez,
a lifelong learner, the
gardening and nature
fun healthy foodie.