Organizations like the Dublin PTO and Athletic Boosters Club are hosting a benefit for Katie Southall from 6-7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, in the cafeteria at Dublin High School.
Southall, a Dublin resident, was recently diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome/reflex sympathetic dystrophy (CRPS), a condition caused by multiple blood clots in her legs, arms and lungs. The CRPS was caused by lupus, an autoimmune disease Southall has been battling for years.
She began getting sick about 10 years ago, shortly after she gave birth to her first son. It took about five years for her to receive her lupus diagnosis.
In June 2016, she was rushed to the emergency room and the doctors discovered that she had blood clots in her legs and lungs. She also had double pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung.
She was transported by air to Texas Health Huguley in Burleson where she learned that she had two blood clotting disorders, one that was associated with lupus and another that is hereditary.
She has received one stem cell transplant in Panama but desperately needs another to try to place the lupus into remission. If Southall’s lupus goes into remission, the absence of blood clots will help prevent the CRPS from moving to the other side of her body.
“[Katie is] always giving back,” said Tara Ratliff, whose daughter is in Southall’s son’s pre-k class. “She’s very family-oriented. She loves her children and would do anything for them. She’s a big part of the community and an all-around great person that deserves for the community to help her.”
The benefit will include a Mexican dinner and silent auction with live acoustics from Steve Norris.
Southall is the mother of three boys, Jake, 11, Casyn, 6 and Ben, 4, and a loving wife to her husband, Justin. She said she is blown away by the benefit.
“When we were told about it, everybody in our family just broke down crying because it’s just amazing to have such a community that comes together for one of their own. To just know that a little bit, even if it’s just a little bit that’s taken off of our plate so that we can focus on getting back to Panama and not having to worry about the daily burden of how we’re going to get there, it’s just such a blessing and I know that we’ll never be able to say thank you enough or repay everybody for everything,” she said.
Southall is also trying to raise more awareness about lupus by trying to get stem cell treatment legalized in the state of Texas.
“When we got back from Panama and I was doing so well [the first time] I had actually met with State Representative Dr. Sheffield to bring a bill to senate to legalize stem cells here in the state. We actually had a sit-down dinner with him and we’re still in communication about that,” she said. “The biggest thing is just bringing awareness about lupus, because it takes a long time to get diagnosed and it’s often a misunderstood condition. There’s a lot of people out there suffering with it and [they need to know] that there is a chance for remission and there is a chance for a cure out there."
Donations will be accepted to help Southall get the treatment she needs.
“I would speak for all of the moms and people involved saying [the benefit] is something that we are happy to get to do for one of our own and we know that if she were in our position, she would do the same thing for any of us, and that’s not just coming from me; that’s coming from every person involved,” Ratliff said.
For more information, visit the Benefit for Katie Southall Facebook page.