A pair of Lawton women want those suffering in Southwest Oklahoma to know that there is help available.
Kara Spencer and Tina Smoley both suffer from lupus an autoimmune disease that can cause achy and swollen joints, skin rashes, swelling, pain, rashes and other debilitating symptoms. They take each day one at a time and try to continue on with their lives as best as they can. But both recognize they sometimes just need to vent to others who might understand. That's why Spencer formed the a lupus support group seven years ago.
"When I was diagnosed, I looked around for a group and the closest one was in Chickasha and it met in a funeral home," she said. "Not exactly the kind of place I'd want to meet at. So I decided to form my own here."
Others with the disease, including Smoley, began joining to share their experiences. Smoley said the group is noncommittal and no one is pressured to share or speak if they don't want to. But it's nice to be able to sit down with someone who's going through the suffering and be able to relate with each other, she said.
"It takes a toll on your family and on your friendships," Smoley said. "You become a black sheep to people because they'll ask you to go do something and you have a flare up and you simply can't go. So they quit asking. With this group, everyone understands what you're going through."