“For me, the Gold Award encompasses everything I’ve learned up until this point in my Girl Scout career: leadership, confidence, and the ability to tell my story with courage.” – Alleyna
The Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio would like to congratulate Alleyna Dougherty, 17, of Bermuda Dunes on achieving her Gold Award.
Her project, “My Life with Lupus,” is a web-based community for teenagers suffering from the disease. The idea stems from her own personal experience; Alleyna was diagnosed with Lupus at the young age of 13.
“The best way I can describe it to people was that it was like falling into this thick haze. I was overwhelmed and it was difficult to get to a place of clarity, to accept that this was my life now,” said Alleyna, speaking of the day she discovered her condition.
Four years on, her perspective has drastically changed. Instead of feeling lost, Alleyna has a very clear, confident grasp on what she views as her role in the Lupus community.
“I want to fill a need in our youth community. When I was first diagnosed, I turned to the internet for information and support,” said Alleyna.
What she found was that most support groups were offline and not within a convenient distance. Also, most online sites were geared toward adults or parents with young children suffering from the disease.
“That’s how I knew what I wanted to do for my Gold Award project. I wanted to reach out to other teens who are going through what I went through when I was first diagnosed. And also, hopefully, it spreads the word about Lupus, because it is not as well known as other diseases,” said Alleyna.
Although her website has only just gotten off the ground, she has already received a fair amount of attention from her local community and the Lupus Foundation of America. The organization has asked Alleyna to help on a taskforce aimed at raising awareness about the rare disease. An article in the national Lupus Magazine featuring Alleyna is also planned for the Spring of 2014.
“The biggest result of my Gold Award has been this huge confidence boost. For me, the Gold Award encompasses everything I’ve learned up until this point in my Girl Scout career: leadership, confidence, and the ability to tell my story with courage,” Alleyna said.
Alleyna is an AP and honors student at Desert Christian Academy. Her goal is to attend university after high school and study the medical sciences. She would like to work as a researcher and battle the disease to help the world become a better place.
Visit Alleyna’s website at www.mylifewithlupus.org.