Kristie Bauer, Kaptain
Meet Kristie, a graphic designer, lupus advocate, and woman who describes herself as “a fighter, believer, and an achiever!” She and her family -- husband, Pete; son, Kevin; and dog, Maggie -- enjoy life in the Twin Cities and happily call Stillwater home. Kristie has been a longtime advocate in furthering the lupus cause. “I decided long ago that I would not let lupus run my life; it’s a part of my everyday life, but there was no way I was going to let it bring me down.”
Kristie was diagnosed with lupus in November 2004 when she was a senior in high school. Her journey with lupus has been quite the roller coaster, but she manages, thanks to her family (whom she credits as her team “for the walk and always,”), friends, and support system at work.
Kristie’s commitment and passion for increasing awareness and funds for lupus is abundantly clear. She blogs about her experience with lupus, walks for lupus, and raises money for lupus at these walk events, as well as her own fundraiser, Leaf for Lupus, an annual family-friendly fundraiser she hosts with her family and Hidden Greens Golf Course in Hastings.
One lupus dimension Kristie wishes people better understood is chronic pain. False assumptions and misunderstandings about such prompted her to create a list to help clear the air. Here are five highlights from the list (see the full list of 15 on Kristie’s blog):
I am not crazy. This is not in my head. I promise you, I wish it were. I am not a hypochondriac. I get it, I don’t look sick. The thing about chronic pain is, most of the time, it’s invisible. Please don’t think I’m making this up. Please don’t think that I am doing this for attention. I do not want the attention. Not for this.
I don’t over-exaggerate my symptoms. Actually, most of the time, I downplay my symptoms. From what I have seen, people with chronic pain are usually in more pain than what they are saying. Even to their doctor.
When I cancel plans, it’s likely because I have to. During a flare, I have to choose what I want to spend my energy on wisely. Some days I have enough to get up and get ready, go to work, and do something after work. Sometimes I run out of energy by the time I get up and get ready. If I say I need to stay home and rest, it’s because I really do need to stay home and rest.
It doesn’t get any easier. I’ve had lupus for over a decade now. I’ve gone through a lot. I have adjusted my lifestyle for my lupus. I never get used to it. This is not something you can ever get used to. It still hurts. It’s always there.
I am still happy. Just because my lupus is flaring, it doesn’t mean I’m miserable. I may be in pain. I may not be healthy. This does not mean that I’m completely miserable or unhappy. I’m generally a happy person. I have days where I wonder, “Why me?” If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be human. But if you think I seem happy, I am. This doesn’t mean that I’m not dealing with my flare or that I’m not in pain. It just means I’m happy. It’s as simple as that.
Regarding the importance of fundraising, Kristie says, “Raising money is my way of fighting back.” She’s especially dedicated to raising money for research because it’s not only leading to a cure, but it’s investing time and energy into better medicines that don’t inflict side effects that are worse than the original symptoms.
“Let’s be real here - lupus sucks,” says Kristie quite candidly. “I don’t want future generations to go through what this generation does with lupus.”
The Great (Point)8K marks Kristie’s 13th year that she has walked for lupus. And the reasons why she walks are sure to inspire:
I walk for AWARENESS. Awareness for this horrible disease, for those who know nothing about it, and for those who know a little about it.
I walk for HOPE. Hope for a cure and for better medicines, specifically medicines that you don’t have to stop because of its side effects.
I walk to show SUPPORT. Support for my fellow lupus patients, for all the families of lupus patients, for the entire lupus community, and for lupus research.
I walk for MY FAMILY in gratitude for all they do.
I walk to show MY SON that a disease does not define who you are.
I walk to show lupus IT WILL NOT WIN.
Thank you, Kristie, for joining us to further the lupus cause! We look forward to seeing you and your team at Central Park in Maple Grove on Saturday, October 14.
Feeling inspired to join us for The Great (Point)8K? Register and create a team today!