In our second week of the Patient of the Month we honor Andrea Acton! The work she has done on behalf of sarcodiosis has created disease awareness not only in her community but in West Virginia, and nationally.
Andrea was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 2005. Since then she has turned this debilitating disease into her passion for life. Three years after her diagnosis she was on disability and unable to work, but she changed her outlook and decided this disease was no longer going to define her. She turned a feeling of powerlessness into empowerment.
Since 2008 she has gone many lengths to not only raise awareness in her community. Also she aided the medical profession, as she has an unusual form of sarcoidosis. Her dedication towards the disease and her health has led her to be one of the first patients to take IVIG infusions for sarcoidosis. She is currently awaiting enrollment in clinical trials for two other drugs. Outside of the medical field she has brought light to the disease in a few other ways. She created a bumper sticker, above, that symbolizes not only the ones we have lost to sarcoidosis (the angel) but also every individual (snowflakes) that is fighting this disease. In the image on the right, she is holds a state proclamation. In April of 2013 she was granted a proclamation from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declaring April sarcoidosis awareness month in WV.
Her next goal is her “Stamp Out Sarcoidosis” campaign. She created a petition to have a commemorative sarcoidosis stamp created by the United States Postal Service. She is currently collecting signatures to petition the USPS and wants a portion of the proceeds to fund research.
In Andrea’s words; “I always tell my friends and family that even if this disease kills me it will not be because I didn’t help to find a cure. My best advice to anyone living with this disease would be to never give up because today may be the day they find a cure.”