Aged eighteen and ready to conquer the music scene, up and coming singer and songwriter Cat Burns from South London talks to LUPUS UK about what lupus means to her.
Cat describes first hearing about lupus when she was very young. Her mum was diagnosed with the condition when Cat was just three years old. “I wasn’t really sure what it was or how it affects people until I spoke to my mum about it when I got older.” Cat goes on to explain, “I wasn’t even completely aware she had lupus until I got older and realised she couldn’t do certain things for long periods of time.” She was not alone in observing the common symptom of extreme fatigue in her mother, in fact, around 90% of lupus patients will experience extreme fatigue – making it one of the most common symptoms associated with the condition.
After acknowledging her mum’s condition, Cat has learnt the importance of taking out time to “appreciate the little things in life like running or exercising properly as well as looking after myself as much as possible, both mentally and physically as I know lupus is also stress-related.” Stress is an important trigger of lupus as it can result in a person experiencing a ‘flare’ – a flare is when lupus symptoms become more intense. The length of a flare varies from person to person.
When questioned on how her family reacted to her mum’s diagnosis, she speaks about the importance of having a close support unit, in her case, her family. “We always make sure we keep an eye out for any changes we see in her and it’s definitely made us a lot closer as a unit.” Cat’s advice to anyone in a similar scenario to her, is to always “stay observant” and “do as much as you can for them, but definitely encourage them to get up and exercise to loosen up their joints in any way possible”. LUPUS UK advises patients to always consult their GP or physiotherapist before undertaking new exercise regimes to ensure they get the most out of them. Lupus-friendly exercises can include simple stretching, walking and swimming. Cat and her mum enjoy regular walks and having massages done together as her mother finds it helps with her joint aches and pains.
The singer/songwriter explains how this experience has made an impact on her as an artist, person and her perspective, “Definitely as a person I always like to make light out of a situation and that’s how I approach my music as well, talking about certain sad situations but making it fun especially with the production.”
Cat concludes the interview describing the importance of raising awareness, “It’s important to raise awareness because it really does affect a lot more people than we think, so having more accessible information for people to get to will help the family members of the person dealing with lupus especially understand and not be so afraid of it.”
Earlier this year Cat released her EP ’Naive’, which received notable press, support by Apple Music, Spotify and Radio including BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Introducing. With new music coming later this year and more live performances – we look forward to seeing what she does next!