Climbing Higher: Shanelle Gabriel's Story
** We honor National Poetry Day with this story about a poet and survivor, Shanelle Gabriel **
"Rock out...live your life....live your art!" This was Brooklyn, New York native Shanelle Gabriel's response to her diagnosis of Lupus, an autoimmune disease where your body's immune system, that usually fights infections, attacks healthy tissue instead.
Shanelle first noticed something was off when her fingers turned blue and hurt in the cold and she could not seem to shake the feeling of fatigue no matter how well she slept. After being diagnosed in 2004, Shanelle decided that her health would not be something that would limit her success.
Using the diagnosis as fuel, she embraced her condition into her art and life and decided that she would pursue her dreams and encourage others who have obstacles in their path to do the same. While performing her blend of spoken word and soulful singing, both nationally and internationally, she also facilitates creative writing workshops, is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, and is the Patient Services Chair for the Young Leaders Board of the SLE Lupus Foundation.
"I feel such a rush, I feel so good when I get to stand on the stage, and really share my testimony, my story, with others and promote awareness about Lupus," Shanelle noted. "If you have an obstacle, use it to climb. For those dealing with Lupus, know that you are not alone."
Living her own words, Shanelle has continued to climb despite this chronic condition. She has been featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, spotlighted on the Rachael Ray Show and recognized for her work by Listerine and Wal-Mart in the "Your Mouth Matters" campaign. Shanelle competed in both the National and Individual World Poetry Slam Competitions. She has shared stages with artists such as Eric Benet, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Nas, and more. You can hear her voice as the narrator for Jennifer Hudson's "I Got This" audiobook and also catch her acting in Q-Tip's video for "ManWomanBoogie."
Watch Shanelle tell her story, perform her poetry, and show that even if things don't always work out as you expected, you can still pursue your dreams.
See more about Shanelle's story at: https://shanellegabriel.com/about
Learn more about Lupus at: https://www.lupus.org/
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