Mrs India finalist puts lupus in spotlight

Effingham resident, Nicole Maistry is one of this year's Mrs India finalists.
Effingham resident, Nicole Maistry is one of this year's Mrs India finalists.

BEING a mother, a successful businesswoman and running two outreach programmes is something Nicole Maistry is familiar with. The Effingham resident was recently selected as one of the finalists of the Mrs India KZN competition. What sets her apart from other contestants is Maistry was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 19. She is using this year’s pageant to highlight the disease and raise more awareness about her support group, Dominate.

The term ‘lupus’ is most often used to describe a more severe form of the condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

“Lupus is a complex and poorly understood condition that affects many parts of the body. I was diagnosed at the age of 19 and at the time it was unheard of. There is no cure and it is what changed the course of my life. It started me on a journey of discovery and knowledge, it became my passion to learn about lupus and help others affected by the disease. Lupus affects each person differently and that’s why I started the Dominate Support Group.

Read more: Learn about the fight against lupus

“We focus on lupus, cancer and leukemia and offer help. So many people misunderstand the condition, its not contagious and in lupus, the immune system is overactive.This cause has been close to my heart since I was a teenager and being part of the Mrs India competition has helped me widen the scope of the Dominate Support group and using the platform to engage with more people,” she said.

Maistry is also involved in an outreach programme where she teaches underprivileged children to dance. She said entering the competition was based on a number of factors.

“What struck me about the pageant was it was more than just community upliftment, it was about female empowerment as well incorporating charity and other philanthropic outreaches,” she said.

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Shiraz Habbib

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