Before Irene Tipton began her journey with (Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis) GPA, she had dedicated her life to helping others learn. First as an elementary school teacher, then an assistant principal, and then training other teachers, she used her gifts to connect people and ideas.
In 2020, her world changed when a string of physical conditions sidelined her. Sinus issues, a cough, weight loss, and kidney failure all led to her diagnosis of GPA. Between surgeries and managing her health, she reluctantly retired from her career.
Prior to her diagnosis, she and her husband enjoyed traveling; especially abroad. Determined not to let GPA take that from her too, she and her husband adjusted their expectations. Now, instead of Athens, Greece, you might find them on Mackinac Island in Michigan.
Back at home in Arizona, Irene had the desire to help others, to continue to find and build meaning in her life. Through her involvement with the Vasculitis Foundation’s virtual support groups, she found an opportunity. Irene serves as a community leader in the the VF’s Vasculitis Voices community on inspire.com. As a leader, she checks in with other community members, answers questions, and connects them with resources. And she helps everyone remember: you are not alone. An entire community of people, from all around the globe, is there walking alongside you. A community of people who “get it.”
“I believe we all deserve kindness,” says Irene. Spreading kindness and being a lifeline have been very rewarding for her. Her involvement with Vasculitis Voices has given her something to focus on and has fueled her resilience.
The VF is grateful for Irene and those who give of themselves to support others on the vasculitis journey. Irene invites you to connect with her on Inspire at https://www.inspire.com/m/Irene_T/