Love and a log cabin
Marisa Zeppieri-Curuana, 39, has been suffering from lupus, an incurable and sometimes debilitating autoimmune disease, since 2008. (Here are the signs of lupus you should know.) A few years ago, following a year-long flare-up during which she was hospitalized 12 times and spent most of her time in a wheelchair, her husband, Mickey, was hunting for holiday gifts. He was eager to cheer and inspire Marisa, who was just beginning to be able to walk once again—albeit with some difficulty, given the heat and burning sunshine of Southern Florida, where Mickey and Marisa make their home. That’s when Mickey came up with what Marisa will forever remember as the holiday gift idea to beat all holiday gift ideas: He whisked her off to a gorgeous log cabin in a quiet corner of Maine for a 10-day Christmas retreat.
“Sitting by the fireplace, reading, watching old movies, standing on the porch with hot tea as the snow came down, watching the animals, being invited by the locals to experience their Christmas festivities,” she recalls. “It wasn’t an adventurous vacation by most people’s standards, but for us, it was a beautiful time to reconnect, get far away from the hospital, calm our bodies, sleep, and, most importantly, spend quiet time together.” It was exactly what Marisa needed, and her husband totally “got it.” So did the cabin’s owner, who found herself inspired—by Mickey’s love for Marisa and Marisa’s strength—to let them stay a few extra days.
Marisa is the founder of LupusChick, a not-for-profit aimed at supporting and encouraging those with autoimmune disorders. The Lupus Foundation of America reports that 1.5 million Americans are living with lupus, and 16,000 new cases are reported each year, but when actress and singer, Selena Gomez publicly revealed her battle with the condition, millennials began to take note. Here’s why autoimmune conditions are on the rise among millennials.