Beliefnet
Inspiration Report

Shannon Boxx was one of the world’s all-time great defensive midfielders and a former member of the United States women’s national soccer team. After she retired in 2015, she took on another rival, this time off the soccer field. Boxx was diagnosed with lupus in 2007 at the age of 30 during the height of her career playing for the U.S. National Team. Five years later, she went public with her lupus diagnosis.

First, what is Lupus? “Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, cells and organs (www.lupusresearch.org).” Lupus can damage any part of the body, including skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body (Lupus Foundation of America, LFA, www.lupus.org) and there is no known cure. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, the disease impacts 1.5 million people.

Depending on the severity of the disease, it can cause varying amounts of damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart and the lungs. For Boxx, she was playing through throbbing pain in her joints and extreme fatigue. There was more, she was also diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune in which your body attacks your moisture-producing glands.

“I remember barely being able to walk up a set of stairs to my apartment and believed that this was very different for me, so I went to see a bunch of doctors and it took me six years for them to get me the right diagnoses,” she recalled. “I remember being open and honest with my doctor because that was a huge part of how they were able to diagnose me.”

She could have given up after the first or second year.

“But I had to be a self-advocate early on. I kept pushing them and I really wanted to understand my body and fight for [the] answers. At that time, I was playing at an elite level. I had bad days and that’s the thing about lupus, its unpredictable.”

We asked Tania González-Rivera, an Immuno-Inflammation Medical Director with GSK pharmaceuticals, why the disease is troublesome to diagnose.

“It’s a complicated disease and it is chronic. Symptoms sometimes are not very specific. There are no blood tests, so there has to be a high degree of suspicion. It is good for patients to be advocates for themselves and bring all that information to their physicians so we are able to make diagnoses.”

Once Boxx became public with lupus after so many years, the healing process started because she had the support around her. That helped her continue to play under sometimes intense pain.

This also prompted her to become more active with the Lupus Foundation of America and to support causes and projects that further the mission of finding a cure. She also wants people to stop suffering in silence.

Boxx is more than her diagnoses. She has two children and they keep her busier than she ever was am an athlete.

“They made me even more aware of how I need to take care of myself. Again, I have stayed open and honest with my doctor and have come up with plans that have really helped me manage my symptoms. I have the same motto that I had as a player. If I have a bad day, I am going to get up and try again.”

Bend the Arc Jewish Action announced its plans to mobilize American Jews nationwide to participate in Rise Up! on May 1.

The movement is in response to “President Trump’s radical, anti-immigrant agenda, including his attacks on sanctuary cities and harsh deportation and detention policies,” said the organization’s press release. The protest will include rallies, protests and town halls organized by grassroots organizations nationwide. CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Stosh Cotler believes that America needs to go into a high-alert mode because of the Trump’s policies. The grassroots resistance will encourage Muslims, immigrants and refugees to participate in order to stop the White House from targeting marginalized groups.

“Any time a leader tries to explain economic and social ills, real or fabricated, by scapegoating and stereotyping a community in our midst, all of us are endangered. Many of our parents’ and grandparents’ ancestors were targeted with this kind of abuse when they first arrived in this country,” said Cotler. “President Trump may have forgotten that, but we have not. We are proud to stand with today’s immigrants to resist these attacks on their communities and defeat immoral policies that threaten their safety and wellbeing. Together, we will ‘rise up’ to stop Trump’s anti-American agenda and work toward a society that treats immigrants and all people with the dignity they deserve.”

The organization believes that America doesn’t work without immigrants. “On May 1st, we will not work, we will not go to school, we will not shop to show that our country will not move forward without our immigrant neighbors.”

On May 1 people are encouraged not to work, not go to school and encouraged to not shop to show that the country will not move forward without “our immigrant neighbors.” Also, according to the group, they are fighting against a planned massive deportation by the administration that will destroy families.

Bend the Arc Jewish Action also organized a campaign to stop the nomination of now Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and called for Trump to fire White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who they believe is a white supremacist.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to serve aboard a Navy submarine? To even be eligible, hopefuls must pass a rigorous series of psychological evaluations, intensive courses, and grueling tests. And once aboard, crewmen shoulder an 18-hour schedule that is divided into 6 hours of sleep, 6 hours of work, and 6 hours of training, drills, and sometimes a little free time.

According to Navy officials, these sailors are some of the most highly trained people in the Navy—training that is very necessary when operating in the deadly depths of the world’s oceans. The training involved is both technical and broad, as each member of the crew must possess the knowledge required to operate and service every piece of equipment aboard in order to respond to emergencies.

In short, it’s a hard job that only the best members of the U.S. Navy can do.

One of these highly skilled servicemen is Chesapeake, Virginia native and native and Deep Creek High School graduate Shea Roach, who now serves aboard the USS Tennessee—one of the world’s most advanced ballistic missile submarines.

Petty Officer 1st Class Roach is a nuclear-trained machinist’s mate whose duties include operating, repairing, and maintaining his submarine’s propulsion machinery and related equipment—he keeps the reactor systems of the vessel running smoothly. And that’s no small tasks when your’re running hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean.

The challenges of serving aboard a submarine are great, but so is the reward. These men—and now women, as well—give up the sun, eschewing the surface world in service to the greater good. And in giving up the sky for a few months in a dark, metal tube, they help safeguard our nation by ensuring the Navy’s submarines are operating at their best and are ready to respond to any emergency at a moment’s notice.

But despite the sacrifice, cramped conditions, and long hours, Shea Roach is focused on the bigger picture, and remains positive about his position. “The best part of being stationed on the submarine is the closeness of this group of people,” says Roach, according the Navy Office of Community Public Affairs. “The Navy has opened my eyes to different cultures and given me the opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds.”

Submariners typically deploy for six months at a time, during which they conduct a variety of missions vital to the security of the nation. Nuclear-powered submarines are powerful vessels that are limited only by the amount of food they are able to store aboard—their reactors last for the life of the ship, and air and water are constantly generated. The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines—affectionately called “boomers,” according to the Navy—act as undetectable launch platforms for intercontinental ballistic missiles, and are designed for stealth and extended missions.

This is one job that this Virginia will likely remember for the rest of his life—as much for the cramped spaces and shared bunks as for the opportunity to serve his country in one of the most unique and challenging ways possible.

A statue of a 4-foot-tall, 250-pound bronzed girl in a wind-tossed ponytail is not going anywhere New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on April 2. “In her short time here, ‘Fearless Girl’ has fueled powerful conversations about women in leadership and inspired so many. Now, she’ll be asserting herself and affirming her strength even after her temporary permit expires — a fitting path for a girl who refuses to quit,” his office said in a statement.”

The famous statue stares down the famous 11-foot-tall Wall Street “Charging Bull” in support of gender diversity. For some, the bull is a symbol of male dominance in the corporate America like Cristina Pogorevic, who comes from Bucharest, Romania. She told Fox 6 New York in an interview: “She is a message of women’s power and things that are changing in the world right now.”

In what was supposed to be a brief appearance to celebrate International Woman’s Day and to send a message to corporate America about workplace gender diversity, now will have a home in Manhattan’s Financial District until February 2018. Initiated by State Street Global Advisors, an investment management division of State Street Corporation and the world’s third largest asset manager, has been vocal about seeing more women in leadership roles. The statue also celebrated the first anniversary of the Gender Diversity Index fund that “invests in U.S. large-capitalization companies that rank among the highest in their sector in achieving gender diversity across senior leadership.”

One visitor from Australia explained to Fox 6 that the indignant girl symbolizes strength. “Standing up against something and we see her as a powerful image. She represents all the young women in the world that want to make a difference.”

But not everyone is a fan.

One artist blasted the statue as being a gimmick. “That is not a symbol! That’s an advertising trick,” “Charging Bull” creator Arturo Di Modica told Market Watch.”Women, girls, that’s great, but that’s not what that (my sculpture) is. I put it there for art. My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength.”

Kristen Visbal created the statue, which was only permitted to remain for a week on March 22, but it was extended by the city’s Street Activity Permit Office through April 2, The Daily News reported.

Whether it is a marketing ploy or not, “Fearless Girl,” is persuading women to stand up to gender bias and that they can make a difference.

The girl with her hands on her hips standing in defiance will live on.