Altonia Fowler-Dugar was diagnosed in July 2011 with systemic lupus. She was 39 years old, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, mentor, member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and a member of The Order of Eastern Star (OES), PHA. She is also the owner of Au’Naturale by Mz. Sixx, an all natural hair product company, and the CEO of The Lupie Chick Project, a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds to find a cure for Lupus along with bringing awareness through advocacy, and education.
Altonia’s determination not to let a chronic illness dictate her plans for the future; she refused to admit that her busy lifestyle and indomitable attitude were hindering her chances for a long, productive life. Dealing with chronic anemia, constant joint pain, migraines, a butterfly rash ( along with scarring) on her face, and depression it was becoming painfully obvious that she was running her body into the ground; she realized she was fighting life, instead of living it. Thus, she made it her top priority to start living well, despite lupus. The steps she took to regain her health and wellness she'd lost are outlined in her blog, http://thelupiechick.blogspot.com. She also shared her journey, her pain, her fears, and her tears by utilizing social media outlets (facebook, Twitter, & You Tube) putting a "face" to a little known disease and have kept it “real, raw, & relevant". Re-evaluating what’s really important, acknowledging stress triggers, and a new approach to diet and exercise, are just a few of the monumental, courageous steps she took to reach her goal of living well, despite lupus.
Altonia has always had a desire to unify all women and strengthen our bonds, which lead to her work in cultivating a sisterhood through the creation of Majestic Divas Social Club in 2009 (www.majesticdivas.org) with chapters in Laurel, MD, Virginia Beach, VA, and Fayetteville, NC. The formation of Mahogany Girls (Mentoring Program) in November 2011 was created to provide young girls with the tools they need to become empowered, inspired, and motivated to take this world by storm. It’s her belief that we as women (old and young) must unite, in order to show others their potential for success and life enhancement. She hopes to use (philanthropic) community involvement as the vehicle in which we will not only enhance life, but define sisterhood.
Altonia is determined to share with others everything that has made her the strong and independent woman she is today. Overcoming the stigma of being a teen mother, survival of a 3 year abusive relationship, sexual assault, and now Lupus, she realized that God gave her those tests so that she would have a testimony. It is her firm belief that if you take something that has negatively affected your life and turn it around into something positive, it hasn't beaten you.
Altonia is a graduate of Jersey City University, Phillips Jr. College, and Phillips Business School where she majored in Business Administration, Business Management and Entrepreneurship. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Altonia currently resides in Laurel, Maryland with her husband Anthony, daughter A’Yianah, son Amihr, and Maltese (dog) Kirby. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this blog is MY EXPERIENCE -it is not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.