Jude Clarke and the ExoSym brace (left photo) that has enabled her to walk again pain-free. (Contributed)

Jude Clarke and the ExoSym brace (left photo) that has enabled her to walk again pain-free. (Contributed)

Okanagan woman walking for awareness

Jude Clarke aims to spread awareness about Lupus and Osteoarthritis and the success she has seen ExoSym™ brace .

At the age of 21, Jude Clarke was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease, which among many manifestations, causes inflammation throughout the body.

Because this condition is chronic and incurable, she spent the next 40 years trying to manage the pain.

This eventually led the Vernon woman to write a book about the disease to help others who had suffered similar conditions.

Titled The Language of Water, her book was published in 1994, detailing her experience living with lupus.

In 2013, after having lived for 35 years with lupus, Clarke was told she needed a kidney transplant.

Several loved ones volunteered to get tested to see if they were a match but ultimately, it was her brother Joe who fit the bill. She received her new kidney in 2015.

Related: Organ donors desperately needed

“The kidney he kept, and the one he donated to me are both working perfectly. A reminder here folks: we each only need one!,” she wrote.

One of the many side effects of lupus is the avascular necrosis of the bone as Clarke experienced inflammation on her ankle.

“Since the transplant, my ankle pain had become increasingly more painful and pain had developed mid-foot through the other foot. My range of motion had become more limited,” she said.

After seeking solutions to aid the pain, she eventually came across ExoSym in the fall of 2018.

ExoSym is a device that is described as a cross between an orthotic and a prosthetic, a limb salvage device to prevent amputation.

“This was my life. I needed help,” she said.

After getting approved, she received the device earlier this year. Now, she aims to raise awareness about Lupus and osteoarthritis and the success of the ExoSym brace allowing her to walk again.

“My future goal is to participate in the annual BC/Yukon Kidney Disease Walk fundraiser, an event I walked once, and since have biked as it has been too painful to be on my feet. I can’t wait.”

While her focus is on sharing her story and helping spread awareness, others are hoping to raise money to help Clarke with medical expenses.

“Jude’s goal is to raise awareness about Lupus and Osteoarthritis and the ExoSym brace, but our goal is to raise funds for Jude! It’s very simple,” wrote Jude GoFundMe organizer Natalie Appleton.

The GoFundMe fundraiser, titled “Help Jude Walk Into The Woods,” was launched about a month ago and has so far raised more than $14,000 with a goal of $20,000.

To read more about Clarke’s story, or to donate to the fundraiser, visit the page at https://www.gofundme.com/help-jude-walk.

Related: Kidney Walk makes strides

Related: Army of support behind Morning Star saleswoman battling cancer

To report a typo, email:
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com
.



Follow me on Twitter @BrieChar
Email me brieanna.charlebois@vernonmorningstar.com
Like us on Facebook.

Just Posted

Central Programs and Services on Richter Street.
COVID-19 exposure at Central Programs and Services

Interior Health annouces a COVID-19 exposure within Central Okanagan Schools

Tony Costa/ Facebook
Fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack Facebook)
Church burns on Penticton Indian Band land

The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Most Read