Living With Lupus: 12-Year-Old Leani Castro Shares Her Story


It’s Lupus Awareness Month and a forum on the disease will be held at UOG this Saturday

Guam –  “I like playing soccer but it just hurts when I do it,” 12-year-old Leani Castro told PNC.

Castro has Lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes inflamattion in her joints, attacks the skin, and also affects internal organs. Sometimes she has to explain her condition to other children.

“I tell them that its a disease,” she said. “…I can’t do a lot of stuff.”

Leani started showing symptoms five years ago but it wasn’t until she was 8 that she was finally diagnosed with Lupus. …. her parents explain what that time was like

“She couldn’t even brush her hair or button her pants,” Leani’s mother, Roxanna Perez, said of the onset. “She was in pain.”

It took a year to get a diagnosis and Leani and her family had to travel to LA to see a specialty doctor, because there are no Rheumatologists on Guam.

“As parents knowing that your child’s hurting we don’t know what to do,” Lance Castro, Leani’s father told PNC.

Now that Leani has a diagnosis she takes five medications to keep her Lupus under control but since Lupus isn’t curable it’s something she’ll have to monitor all her life.

“Her disease is not going to go way when she’s 18,” Perez said.

If you’d like to learn more about Lupus the Lupus Awareness Group of Guam is hosting a free forum on the disease this Saturday. Lupus: Living and Learning will begin at 8am in the UOG School of Business Public Administration Building. If you’d like to participate you can register by emailing