VF in the News

Symposium 2013: Opening Keynote Speaker: Celeste Castillo Lee

The Vasculitis Foundation is pleased to announce Celeste Castillo Lee, a vasculitis patient diagnosed in 1982, will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2013 Vasculitis Symposium. Ms. Lee will speak on Friday evening, July 12th during the Welcome Dessert Reception. Her talk “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”  A Survivors Guide” will explore her experience of navigating health care and life.  Her secret? A four-letter word:  “HOPE” — Humor, Optimism, Partnership and Education.”

Ms. Lee is Program Manager for the Patient and Family Centered Care at the University of Michigan Health System. She has extensive experience in patient and family centered care initiatives and brings a unique outlook as both a patient advisor and as a patient with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). She is committed to improving quality of care and quality of life for those with ESRD and serves on several state and national patient advocacy boards.

Her journey with ESRD began at the age of 17 after being diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis. As a college student at Syracuse University, she was on dialysis and struggled with a hemoglobin of 6. Every day required the mental fortitude and commitment needed to train for a marathon. She received a transplant in 1986, unfortunately transitioning back to dialysis in 1995, due to chronic kidney rejection. She has been on a wait list for a new kidney since February 10, 1992. Because of her experience she has become an advocate not only for herself but also for those whose voices are silent.

The 2013 Vasculitis Symposium will be held at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 12-14. Click here to learn more about attending the symposium which is only held every other year.