Finding Hope & Healing in the Face of Illness
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Roxanne & Leo
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Roxanne Black is the Founder and Executive Director of Friends' Health Connection.
When she was 15 years old, she was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic inflammatory
disease that can cause damage to vital organs of the body.
In 1990, lupus attacked
Roxanne's kidney functioning. After self-administering dialysis five times per day for nearly
two years, Roxanne received a kidney transplant. Her oldest sister was the donor.
At the time of her diagnosis, Roxanne felt a strong desire to locate another lupus patient her
age. She wanted to communicate with someone who could truly relate to her feelings.
In her attempt
to locate another teenager with lupus, she discovered the need for a support network to connect
people who are the same age and who have the same health problems. As a result, she created
Friends' Health Connection out of her dorm room at the age of 17 during her freshman year at
Rutgers University in New Jersey. Since then, Friends' Health Connection has grown into an
internationally recognized organization that has touched the lives of thousands of people.
Along the way, Roxanne, who received her bachelor's degree from Rutgers, has earned
several honors for her efforts.
She was appointed the 268th Daily Point of Light by former President
George Bush, received a medal from former United States Senator Bill Bradley, and was honored
with both the Sea Breeze Salutes Young America award and the Jefferson Award for Service.
While in college, she was named by USA Today as one of the top eighteen college students in the
She has also earned awards from the New Jersey Hospital Public Relations and Marketing
Association, the Public Relations Society of America and the National Speaker's Association.