published July 31, 2013
Mom inspiration for intern’s work at LFM
By: Mercedes Pitzer
Growing up, I always thought I would become a pharmacist just like my grandfather. However, after my first semester at North Dakota State University, I quickly realized that it was not for me. I changed my major to Health Communication and never looked back. Not only am I completely devoted to the career path that I am now embarking on, but I am just as passionate about it too.
I knew I wanted to gain some experience this summer so early last fall, I set out in hopes of finding an internship position with a health organization here at home, in Minnesota. I applied to several nonprofits and anxiously waited for their responses. In the meantime, my mother, Rebecca Pitzer, suggested contacting the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM). I figured it was worth a shot, so I emailed the foundation. To my surprise, they were interested in meeting with me to discuss a possible position. I was absolutely thrilled!
The reason my mother suggested LFM in the first place is because she is one of the thousands of people in the United States who has lupus. She showed symptoms of the autoimmune disease her entire life, but was not officially diagnosed until she was 32 years old, when she lost my brother, Austin, during labor. She was immediately put on Plaquenil, and has thankfully not had a flare-up in over 20 years.
Not only does she deal with lupus personally, but she has also been a faithful donor to LFM in hopes of helping others just like her. Quite frankly, my mother is the strongest person I know and if it were not for her, I would not be who and where I am today. I am so grateful to have the chance to work for an organization that directly relates to such an important person in my life.
In May, I began interning for LFM. My duties included general administrative support, coordinating various events and working on event survey development. After about one month, LFM offered me an actual part-time position. They were pleased with all of my hard work and wanted me to become a paid member of the staff. I was honored and graciously accepted the offer. Now my duties primarily focus on special events planning and support, especially tasks related to LFM’s upcoming Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run events this fall.
It is such a wonderful feeling to know that hard work truly does pay off and that my efforts positively affect hundreds of people. I am so thankful for this opportunity to be a part of such an incredible organization, fighting for such a great cause. I cannot wait to see what my future has in store for me, but for now, I am pleased to say that I work for LFM.