When the On The Run Tour landed in the Los Angles area there were two nights of shows, tens of thousands of fans, and there was Kimberly Dansby; an exceptional 31-year-old woman living with Lupus who has a story to match her strength.
In 2010, Kim was met with the grim diagnosis of lupus, a deadly autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system goes into overdrive threatening vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, and liver. More specifically, Kim suffers from a condition known as lupus cerebritis, a form of lupus that attacks her brain.
Soon after her diagnosis, her cerebritis had become so life-threatening that her doctor rendered her permanently disabled and unable to work. At the time, she was a 27-year-old single mom to daughter Alaina, the recipient of a freshly minted Bachelor's degree in social work, and eager to begin her career helping others. Having to leave her job, Kim lost her insurance, and was unable to pay for costly medications ($35,000/ year for the only FDA-approved lupus drug; $756/ month to keep her seizures at bay; $22,000/ dose chemotherapy to kill her healthy blood cells to keep them from essentially killing her.) She had her first late-night seizure during this period, while her daughter slept in the other room.
As a direct effect of the disease she has suffered three near-fatal seizures in her sleep and because she has experienced miniature strokes in the last few months, her doctor has prescribed a second round of chemo treatments to slow down lupus' strike against her brain.
After a government-imposed two-year waiting period, Kim was able to access and cover the some costs of her treatments through Medicare and disability benefits. To pay for her latest round of chemo, she collected donations from generous friends and family members.
Rather than idle in the ailments of her own diagnosis, Kim set out to continue her passion for social work and make a change in the lives of those suffering from Lupus by providing a haven of education and resources to sufferers and their families. With nothing of the sort available, Kim started
the Purple Rose Foundation,
a local support group for children and adults living with lupus in Southern California. With the help of dedicated volunteers, the organization offers housecleaning and shopping services, scholarships, gift cards for prescriptions, and school supplies for young lupus sufferers. She also comforts families who have lost children to the disease.
The last six months have been trying for Kim as she embarks on a second round of chemo. Though she often says that her "faith is her cure," she admits to being tired and terrified. The On The Run concert was a break from the aforementioned, and according to Kim, a highlight of her year. Kim says Beyoncé is her hero whose music brings her immense joy and peace, even amid the madness of her life.
Kim’s health may be ailing, but her spirit, perseverance and dedication to helping others through the Purple Rose Foundation is something we could all source a little inspiration from. Thank you Kim for exemplifying grace and brevity in the face of illness.
Learn more about Kim Dansby’s story and the Purple Rose Foundation here.