The Home T is committed to raising money for multiple sclerosis (MS) research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, but we also want to help raise awareness about the disease and how it impacts people.
This interview is part of an ongoing series where we talk to members of The Home T community that are impacted by multiple sclerosis. Today, we’re going to hear from Lauren.
Lauren shot to fame in 2012 after being cast in a reality TV show, but it was bittersweet when she got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis that same year. She immediately decided to turn her personal fight with MS into public awareness and became a spokesperson to raise funds for research, educate, and inspire positive change. We caught up with her to learn more about her hometown, cool jewelry line, and journey with MS!
What state do you call home?
I grew up in California, then moved to NYC for 4 years, moved back to LA for 2, back to NY for 2 1/2 and now finally back in CA for good. Who does that?
You've lived in NY and LA, what are your favorite parts of each coast?
I love the rich history in NYC the most, the feeling of walking around wondering what has happened beneath your feet. Most people there have worked really hard to get there. But the weather ended up finally getting to me for good. LA is just a nice central place where a lot of good things happen, interesting people and events, and you can live your life outside and not huddled inside.
What was it like being in the public eye on a reality tv show when you got diagnosed with MS?
Well the show was airing when I was diagnosed, so talk about highs and lows. I think I was already living in a weird sort of dream-land with the show happening, and then once I was diagnosed everything became even more surreal. Nothing was ever the same once I started filming. Life has never gone back to anything it ever was before. I feel blessed about the show, I feel blessed about MS, I have found so many positive aspects to having this disease. It sounds crazy but it's true.
Congrats on your successful jewelry line, Lyon Fine Jewelry. You donate a portion of your sales to a variety of causes (multiple sclerosis, human rights, prevention of animal cruelty, etc.) What inspired you to start a philanthropic business?
Thank you! I think it was just something I've always wanted to do - what good is success or money if you don't help others? Life is about helping others, not hoarding everything for yourself. What kind of life is that. What kind of brand doesn't bring awareness to causes greater than itself. We all have to do our part.
What differentiates Lyon Fine Jewelry from other jewelry lines?
I think that when I started it, there were hardly any edgy looking jewelry lines out there. You find a lot more now. But I was venturing into pretty uncharted territory. It's tough, most girls out there that wear fine jewelry want girly looking jewelry. But we are heading into more unisex territory, and I am so excited about that!
How did getting diagnosed with MS affect your business and goals?
Well, at first nothing changed. I would be stressed out and running it by myself as usual. Then as my anxiety got really bad, I decided to step back and really take some time for myself and not push and work as hard as I was. I decided that it wasn't good for me. Now I think I have a little more balance and don't take it as seriously. I've done the hard work, now I need to take care of me!
What's your favorite piece of jewelry on the site right now?
My favorite piece is always the La-Nouvelle-Orleans Ring. It's my baby, it took me a long time to get perfect. But I have some new pieces coming that I really love.
What has multiple sclerosis helped you learn about yourself?
It's unbelievable how much you take life and health for granted until you're faced with a disease. I enjoy each day now and really focus on what's important in life. I really don't sweat the small stuff. I've learned I'm much more strong and positive than I ever thought I was!
Do you have any advice for those living with MS?
I think it's really important to become your own expert, your own doctor. Believe me, each doctor is different and no one doctor has the same advice, so you need to research MS, treatments, nutrition, like your life depends on it :) because it does.
I read that you are starting a vlog with fellow cast member and MS'er Kacy. We are so excited about it. What will it be about?
WE are so excited!!! The vlog will be MS based, but we will talk about a lot of other topics. We will be hitting the streets, doing cooking shows, you name it! We're going to really cover a lot of material and hopefully make a community where people can come and feel at home. We want to be your go-to for support and information, laughs, and good times.
Lastly, check out Lauren's Multiple Sclerosis 'Be Positive' Bracelet. It is a constant reminder of the power of positive thinking! 15% of all proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
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In 2011, Beth Donaldson, mother of two and wife of a police SWAT officer, was busy with work and the day-to-day life of raising two children. But when she was diagnosed with MS at 40, she dedicated herself to making a difference. Now she and her husband Mike run Living MS and are launching a charity bike ride to benefit MS awareness and research.