ChronicLU: Support and Advocacy for students affected by chronic disease

Tammy Tran

ChronicLU was recognized as an official student organization at Lawrence University last year.

ChronicLU is a support and advocacy group made up of students who are affected by chronic diseases. This includes students who have or know someone with a chronic disease.

The idea for ChronicLU came from Renee Kargleder and her involvement in the Young People For Project social progression program. Her experiences with the program led her to realize that the Lawrence community is affected by chronic diseases and can benefit from a support system.

“I understand that a lot of chronic diseases have a lot to do with stress and not having the necessary resources,” shared Kargleder. “This group can offer these resources, and having that foundation is essential for people.”

ChronicLU is structured so that members serve as advocates for each other, as well the Lawrence community. Together, the group strives to vocalize their shared interest in chronic diseases better through a wide range of mediums, including advocacy, counseling and dance.

“We want to cultivate that space where people can support each other, be advocates for each, and be a resource to each other,” said co-founder Nicholas Perez. “It’s a space that didn’t exist before, for people to be themselves in their adversaries. “

Kargleder and Perez agree that a chronic disease does not need to be hidden. Rather, it can be expressed, which is the tone that ChronicLU works toward setting. Currently, the group is in the midst of building its foundation in order to ensure both sustainable and long-term future services.

Said Perez, “With everything that Lawrence has invested in wellness this year, we want to work with that wave of growth within wellness at Lawrence. We want to be a part of that change in that sector and want ChronicLU to grow along with it in that direction. Why not grow together?”

“Bring yourself! We want people to know this is a space that is open and where you can be completely yourself. It’s a space that is confidential and a space we are starting, but we want other people to have a huge part in how that space is cultivated,” said Kargleder.

Ultimately, ChronicLU is a community and student-based group. Input and opinions regarding ChronicLU meetings or events are more than welcome.