“Life is too short to worry about things that really don’t matter when you look at the big picture. I enjoy each day to the fullest and I thank the Lord for another day.”
That perspective comes from Aniesha Bryant, who began focusing on the big picture nearly 20 years ago when she was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease affecting at least 1.5 million Americans. Aniesha – a departmental process auditor here at BCBSNC – has spent the past six years helping others see the big picture through her volunteer work for the Lupus Foundation of America’s North Carolina (LFANC) chapter.
We selected Aniesha as a Community Champion during the company’s Month of Thanks commemoration taking place throughout November. The recognition honors North Carolinians whose volunteer work has made a significant impact on our state’s communities and includes a donation of $5,000 to each volunteer’s cause; LFANC is the beneficiary of the contribution on Aniesha’s behalf.
Aniesha’s connection with LFANC started with a simple Internet search: “Finding the LFA website helped me learn more accurate information about lupus and living with the disease versus the other websites that had me believing my life was coming to an end.” As she learned more about lupus and about how she could start to feel she was taking some command over the disease, Aniesha began attending informational workshops organized by LFANC. Before long, she was participating in the Lupus Walk fundraiser. That’s when was bitten by the volunteer bug.
“After walking to raise money for LFANC, I decided I wanted to take a more active role in the foundation to help others who are new to the disease learn more about it,” says Aniesha. “To me, at that point, it was all about advocacy. I met so many people who didn’t know what lupus was.”
Next year marks Aniesha’s third year serving on the Lupus Walk’s planning committee: “I enjoy every moment of volunteering, whether I am volunteering at the walk itself or at one of the lupus workshops or vendor information sessions at a business.”
Aniesha hopes people reading about her Community Champion award will consider finding a cause they can support through volunteering. “I have always had a passion for helping others, but volunteering for LFANC has helped me to be bolder about what I believe in and convinced me to try to inspire others to see their potential for serving the community,” Aniesha says. “You never know what life you might touch and have a significant impact. If you have never volunteered before, you don’t know what you’re missing. You will be amazed how a little act of kindness goes a long way for someone who is in need.”
As Aniesha notes, that is the big picture we all should see.
To learn more about the great work of the Lupus Foundation of America’s North Carolina chapter, visit their website at http://www.lupus.org/northcarolina.