28

Nov

Woman Empowers Lipedema Sufferers With New Charity

katia-page

A New Jersey woman living with a chronic, fat-based illness has started a charity in the hopes of helping other women with her condition live more comfortable lives.

Katia Page, who calls herself “The Lipedema Queen,” has launched a non-profit of the same name. The goal is to help provide items and procedures to help women manage their condition including nutritional supplements, compression garments and even surgeries.

Lipedema is a chronic disease that causes immense swelling of the hips and legs. Page told the West Orange Patch that she was diagnosed with lipedema in 2006, but had been living with the symptoms ever since she was a child.

“The doctors were just overlooking it,” she said. “My family took me to nutritionists. They had personal trainers for me. But a lot of people don’t understand that you can’t diet this away. You can’t exercise it away.”

Page’s legs were 50 inches wide at the height of her condition, essentially restricting her to her house. But she said that it was just as painful to face social stigma from people who thought her condition was due to living an unhealthy lifestyle.

The perception was particularly frustrating for Page because she has always remained physically active, engaging in activities ranging from swimming to lifting weights.

She has also taken medical action against her condition by recently embarking on liposuction sessions that her doctors hope will help better manage her condition.

“I still travel. I still love to dance and swim. Life is too short and I don’t want to die and say ‘I didn’t get a chance to do this,’” she said. “I’ve danced and won competitions and beauty pageants. I keep living, no matter what.”

One of her biggest motivations is the relationship with her fiancé, Kevin. The pair are scheduled to be married next year and Page is determined to have her father walk her down the aisle.

With her new charity in place, Page said she is also motivated to serve as an example to other women with lipedema that the condition doesn’t have to be life-defining.

“Wear what you want to wear and do what you want to do… Whether you’re size 2 or size 32, people are going to say something regardless,” she said. “A lot of times, we build it up in our own heads because we feel insecure about it. That’s just a physical attribute. It’s not who I am.”