Thursday, December 2, 2021

We Get by With a Little help From Our Friends

Photos by Jo Brandau


Friends of Jan Cirillo made a surprise visit with balloons and signs to offer cheer and healthy wishes as she continues her battle with Systemic Lupus. Some wore purple to promote Lupus awareness. 

Jan and her husband, Michael, are former Special Education teachers from Michigan. She was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus in 1993 and a few years later moved to Marco Island, to get away from the harsh winters. Not knowing anyone here, Jan joined the Newcomers Club and then “Just Friends.” 

In 2013, Jan wanted to help raise awareness and help others with Lupus. She started a support group to serve Marco and all of Southwest Florida. With the help of Marilyn Honahan, another Marco friend, she organized monthly meetings and fundraisers to raise awareness and help patients and their families to cope with this autoimmune disease. Because she is immunity compromised, she hasn’t had much in-person contact with her friends for over a year!

Karen Oldenberg organized the Monday morning surprise, gathering friends from “Saucy Sisters” and “Tropical T’s.” Jan was not the only happy lady after this visit. The visit worked both ways. It brought a huge smile to Jan, and her friends left feeling the same way- hopeful for better days ahead. 



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