Liz Shaw-Stabler has dealt with Lupus for over thirty (30) years. At age 33, Liz got married for the first time and within six weeks she began to lose her hair in little pea-size spots. Determined to try and stay healthy, Liz began training to be a distance runner with the encouragement of her new husband, a marathon runner. The two trained together for six months, only to have their efforts sidelined when Liz developed arthritis in her right foot. Believing her running shoes were to blame, Liz got custom fitted with new shoes and resumed her workout regimen. Then the overwhelming fatigue set in. At this point, she realized it wasn’t her shoes and a myriad of doctor visits began.
After being admitted into every major medical facility and then released with no diagnosis, Liz and her husband sought an appointment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota where after two days of testing, she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus by rheumatologist Dr. William Ginsburg – a full two years after her bout with fatigue started.
In 1988, Liz moved from Chicago to California with her husband and suddenly found herself deathly ill. Suffering from kidney failure, she endured dialysis, plasmapheresis (blood plasma treatment), high doses of intravenous steroids, and cytoxin.(a chemotherapy drug). To make things even worse, Liz then began to develop severe depression, which lasted for more than a year. With the help of prescription drugs and a life-style change, her depression slowly lifted. Thinking a support group could further aid in her recovery, Liz set out in search of a local group, but couldn’t find one that adequately addressed her needs. Not letting that stop her, Liz began to take classes offered by the Arthritis Foundation and became certified as a support group facilitator. She then started her own support group at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood. Seeing a need in the underserved communities, Liz began to provide support and education for other lupus patients. As of today, the group is over ten years old with a rapidly expanding membership.
In August 2003, Liz went a step further by founding a non-profit organization called Center for Lupus Care (CLC). Since its conception, CLC has hosted FREE lectures, workshops, and symposiums for both physicians and patients to obtain valuable information on lupus and other related auto-immune diseases. CLC also created an additional component called the "Butterfly Network," which assists lupus patients in lupus crisis situations. These services Include but are not limited to: payment for needed prescription drugs, finding the best health care physicians and travel expenses to and from emergency medical visits. In addition, the Center for Lupus Care has partnered with “Full Circle Wellness Center” to offer lupus patients free individual and small group psychological counseling as well as “Compassion in Action” to help patients apply for their disability benefits.
After moving to California, Liz has devoted her life to educating lupus patients and their families - with emphasis on the underserved lupus community. She has been known to stay on the phone for hours comforting a newly-diagnosed patient. Wanting to offer more than just clinical advice, Liz has given countless women the vision to see their lupus health challenges as a butterfly experience, a metamorphosis into something different that can still be something beautiful. “Who you are has changed and you must learn to accept those changes so that you can walk in wisdom with your body.” Ms. Shaw-Stabler and the Center for Lupus Care is still providing lupus patients from all around Los Angeles the help and hope they so desperately need. CLC also mails out packets of information to lupus patients living in other states.