As a successful actor and star of ABC Family’s hit television show Pretty Little Liars, Ian Harding has a busy schedule. When he is not on set, the 27-year-old uses his success and newfound fame for a larger purpose: to advocate for lupus.
Harding has teamed up with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) to raise awareness about lupus, an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.
The spring issue of Lupus Now magazine, published by the LFA, highlights how Harding balances his thriving career and uses his celebrity to help young women recognize lupus and seek out answers and support. Harding talks openly about his connection with the disease, and how his mother’s diagnosis in 1994 shaped their lives, but didn’t inhibit his opportunities. The article discusses Harding’s personal mission to raise awareness and deliver the message that lupus is a daily struggle; however, it can be lessened through the support of friends and family.
Harding and his sister were young children when his mother was diagnosed. Looking back, he explains that if he were more aware of the physical demands of lupus, he would have been a greater help to his mother. “If I were a kid again and knew what this disease entailed, I would have asked her how I could help more,” says Harding.
Today, Harding looks to extend his support to thousands of others who suffer from lupus and its brutal impact.
“This may sound weird, but it just feels like it’s something that’s beatable if we stay on this path,” he says. “My biggest worry is that some people might give up. You can live with this disease. It’s a daily struggle, it’s terrible. But you can do it—just like my mom.”
To read the complete article, or to order a subscription to Lupus Now magazine, go online to lupusnow.org, contact your local LFA chapter, or call 866-4-THE-LFA. Published three times per year for people with lupus, their families, and health professionals, Lupus Now includes the latest information on new treatments, clinical trial updates, lifestyle and wellness features, personal stories, and more.