Teen with lupus finds strength to help others

DETROIT - As if being 13 isn't tough enough, for ChyAnn Leonard, is growing up with lupus.

Inside her body, a battle is raging because her immune system cant' distinguish between good cells and bad cells.

"With lupus, you never know how you're going to wake up in the morning," Leonard said.

Her mother, Bridget, suffers from the disease, and her grandmother also had it.

The teen's six older siblings are all healthy.

"I thought I had dodged a bullet," Leonard said. "It was really heartbreaking."

Leonard deals with achy, swollen joints and organs on a daily basis. Additionally, the medication she takes and changed her physical appearance, which adds a whole other level of stress.

"I didn't really notice at first, and then I took the steroids and got all poofed out," Leonard said. "They treated me differently, because I didn't look the same."

Leonard started a blog to help herself cope, but she also didn't want other children suffering from the same thing to feel like she did – so she also started a support group for kids under the age of 18 who suffer from auto immune disorders.

"I got used to myself and I'm already starting to like my body," Leonard said.

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