The Purple Butterfly: A Hopeful Symbol for Lupus | MyLupusTeam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About MyLupusTeam
Powered By

The Purple Butterfly: A Hopeful Symbol for Lupus

Written by Mary K. Talbot
Posted on September 8, 2020

Maya Angelou once wrote, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Lupus has transformed the lives of 1.5 million Americans diagnosed with this systemic autoimmune disease. Many lives are affected when one of us receives the lupus diagnosis. The purple butterfly, a symbol used to unify the lupus community, can be embraced by those of us with the disease — along with our family and friends.

There’s strength in numbers. If we work together with our family and friends to wear the purple ribbon and to show off our butterflies, we can bring attention to the disease and demonstrate its impact — both on the street and on social media — with the Butterfly Challenge.

Spread the word about the impact of lupus on our bodies, our pocketbooks, and our relationships. Together, we can create awareness, educate the public about the symptoms, push for more research, and create more empathy for those who are having a flare-up or are unable to work because of the progression of the disease.

Why the Butterfly?

About half of people who have been diagnosed with lupus at some point develop a malar rash that is raised and scaly, and extends from cheek to cheek over the bridge of the nose. It resembles the shape of a butterfly, which has become a popular symbol representing the disease.

Butterflies are also significant because they are a symbol of hope. Recent scientific discoveries are finding new answers to the complex disease called lupus.

In 2016, four researchers at Yale University made a discovery through their study of lupus that provides promise for some types of cancer. Lupus patients may show resistance to certain malignancies, such as breast cancer. The lupus butterfly theory proposes the hope that lupus antibodies may be harnessed to provide protection against certain malignancies in the future.

In February 2020, The Rheumatologist published an article indicating that researchers are closer to finding out who is most likely to develop lupus. There are potential clues to disease prevention in the discovery that people who are antinuclear antibody (ANA)-positive appear to suppress lupus disease activity.

Activating Your Network for Good

Having lupus can sometimes be socially isolating. People are often reluctant to talk about their symptoms, medications, and doctors’ appointments with loved ones for fear of rejection, a lack of understanding, or feeling burdensome. One MyLupusTeam member said, “It’s a tough situation trying to find someone that understands what you’re going through.”

People are often scared when a loved one has a disease. They feel powerless to help, but information and education can help them understand what you are going through. Engage them with your doctor and treatment plan. With education, they can become powerful advocates for you and for finding new treatments for lupus.

Join the Challenge

If every one of us with a lupus diagnosis invites three friends or family members to join us in wearing purple and posting photos on social media, there will be 6 million Americans bringing awareness to the disease. Think of that purple power!

  • You can purchase merchandise from the Lupus Foundation of America featuring the purple butterfly symbol and the lupus ribbon. A portion of the profits help fund ongoing research.
  • Get creative. Go to your local hobby shop for craft supplies, and bedazzle a pair of sneakers or a favorite T-shirt with the purple butterfly or the purple ribbon.
  • Support an artist while advocating for more lupus research. Bring the awareness ribbon or a picture of a butterfly to a local designer to create an original piece of wearable art to elevate recognition of lupus. You can also shop online for lupus-focused wearable crafts at Etsy.
  • Go to WhyITattoo and request free butterfly temporary tattoos for your family and friends. Have them take selfies and share them on social media with the hashtag #whyitattoo to show how many are affected by lupus.

There is power in our numbers when we all take the Butterfly Challenge. We must become beautiful, winged warriors advocating for ourselves and for a cure for this disease. Working together, we hope to transform the health care landscape and get more funding for lupus research.

How do you raise awareness of lupus? Is your favorite lupus symbol a butterfly, a wolf, or a purple ribbon? Inspire others by commenting below or sharing your ideas on MyLupusTeam.

Posted on September 8, 2020
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Mary K. Talbot is a graduate of Providence College (Rhode Island) and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (Illinois). Learn more about her here.

Recent Articles

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...

Crisis Resources

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...
Welcome to MyLupusTeam — the place to connect with others living with lupus. This video will wal...

Getting Started on MyLupusTeam (VIDEO)

Welcome to MyLupusTeam — the place to connect with others living with lupus. This video will wal...
“I seem to get swelling in my lower lip with lupus flares,” wrote one member of MyLupusTeam. “We’...

Is Lip Swelling a Symptom of Lupus?

“I seem to get swelling in my lower lip with lupus flares,” wrote one member of MyLupusTeam. “We’...
Mouth sores and nose sores, sometimes called ulcers, are common symptoms of systemic lupus erythe...

Mouth and Nose Sores in Lupus: Causes and Treatments

Mouth sores and nose sores, sometimes called ulcers, are common symptoms of systemic lupus erythe...
Living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common type of lupus, can be expensive. ...

6 Ways To Save Money With Lupus: Insurance, Medication, Housing, and More

Living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common type of lupus, can be expensive. ...
Shannon Boxx is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup champion with the U.S. Women’...

Lupus Fatigue: 3 Tips for Energy From Soccer Pro Shannon Boxx (VIDEO)

Shannon Boxx is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup champion with the U.S. Women’...
MyLupusTeam My lupus Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close