Ambassadors of LUPUS UK
Komal is a Yoga Educator: Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda & Vedanta. She first turned to yoga as a result of a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in her lower limb, which was eventually diagnosed as part of a wider set of lupus symptoms. As a keen health enthusiast, she was unable to use her leg for running and weightlifting as she had been accustomed to, let alone wear a nice pair of heels for a night out! Yoga helped her to reacquaint herself with movement and enhance proper blood flow, as well as reduce swelling and reoccurring pain from the blood clot. Yoga, which had been introduced to her as a child through her Indian upbringing, began to take a leading role in her life as she began to encounter a wider spectrum of symptoms, such as ITP (immune thrombocytopenia), hair loss, depression, and severe lichen planus pigmentosus. It was the steadiness and “slowing of things down” during her yoga practice, that brought to light the intricate connection between her thoughts and her lupus flares.
Yoga has taught her that healing begins with one’s full acceptance of one’s body as it is. Followed by willingness to adapt to what one’s body is capable of, non-judgmentally. Frustration and rejection of one’s symptoms feeds illness through negative emotions. Meditation and yoga philosophy provided her with the necessary input for this self-love and acceptance.
18 years on from when she experienced her first blood clot, she has survived a bi-lateral pulmonary embolism, a peripheral blood clot in her right arm and a second DVT in her left leg, this time, an extensive 50 cm ilio-femoral one, which left her severely incapacitated. Each time she has clotted, she has been obliged to stop moving for several months and has been faced with the fear of an unknown future in regards to her yoga practice and recovery. She vividly recalls the moment at St. Thomas’ Hospital when she was warned of irrevocable/permanent swelling and imminent ulcers that she would experience as a result of the reoccurring DVT. It was the practice of acceptance and even-mindedness instilled through the practice of yoga, that inspired her to “keep moving”, even if it meant going down from a 90 minute practice, to a 10 minute session or having to go “back to basics” on a regular basis. Eventually, though it might have taken months or years sometimes, she built herself back up again, each time.
You can learn more about Komal via her socials on:
Beth Smith, known as "Beth Does Beauty" in the online realm, is a passionate lupus advocate, a beauty enthusiast and an online content creator. Her journey is one of resilience, positivity, and unwavering dedication to making a difference.
Beth's life took an unexpected turn during her first year of University in October 2015 when she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. After battling a series of mental health struggles related to lupus and the physical changes she was experiencing due to medication and lupus itself, Beth embraced it as an opportunity to raise awareness about the
Through her YouTube channel and social media platforms, Beth shares her personal experiences, coping mechanisms, and tips for maintaining a positive mindset while navigating the complexities of chronic illness all while discussing topics such as self-confidence and body image with chronic illness. Her authenticity resonates deeply with her audience, reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles.
Beth's impact goes beyond the digital realm. She has seamlessly integrated her passion for beauty and gaming with her advocacy efforts by live-streaming charity events to raise funds for LUPUS UK. These events raise crucial funds and foster a sense of community and solidarity among those affected by the disease.
Alton Brown is a UK based international athlete, coach and mentor in the sport of Karate. Born in the UK to parents of Jamaican heritage, Alton represented the English National Team for a total of 17 years.
By November 2021, Alton ranked #1 for his division within Jamaica, #1 across the Caribbean, Central and South America and #14 in the world all-time ranking. He is a European Champion, multiple World Medalist, English and British Champion.
But it’s not just about his personal success. Alton was Team Manager for British Universities & Colleges Sport, where he mentored and trained young athletes to success, and today continues to coach young British athletes. Alton is an Advocate for Young People and the role of sport and the creative arts in placing them in the driving seat of what is possible for their lives. Alton is actively working on the development of young people through sport within the UK, the Caribbean and across the Commonwealth through skills development, knowledge sharing and awareness-raising.
Alton has been recognised by the World Governing Body as an athlete who embodies the values of his sport, “putting his Karate skills to the service of those who need them the most” and “using Karate to make a better world”.
Alton is an athlete ambassador for the Jamaican Olympic Association’s national team, where he represents at the highest levels on the world circuit. He also currently works for the Organising Committee for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as the Head of Youth Programmes & Policy, developing opportunities for young people to benefit from exciting engagement with the largest sporting event to take place in the UK in the last 10 years.
Alton started Karate at the age of 11 in a tiny church hall in East London’s Roman Road. The karate club was a place he truly felt at home and it taught him that he was 100% in control of what he could achieve in life. If he put in the work, nobody could stop him from achieving his dreams. He teaches the same life philosophy to his two beautiful daughters.
Alton has lupus. He was diagnosed in 2011 but had symptoms from 2009. As a competitive athlete, he cannot take steroids and is unused to taking regular medication. Alton says: ‘I take control of my pain and sport gives me a reason to be in pain that I cannot blame on lupus. I generally have at least one flare-up per month. In consultation with my rheumatologist, there was a time when I came off hydroxychloroquine, however now that I better understand (through attending a LUPUS UK event) that my medication is to prevent inflammation, which has longer-term effects on the body, I made the decision to begin medication again. Wanting to live a long, happy and active life with my little daughters was a real driving factor for that decision.