Advocate and Educate

Minnetonka resident discusses living with chronic illness.

Minnetonka’s Larry Norgren believes that a positive outlook is one of the best ways to live with a chronic illness. “I’m a rare duck,” he says. “I have a positive outlook and feel fortunate in all the things I’ve been able to do.”

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system turns against parts of the body it’s designed to protect. About one in 200 people are diagnosed with the disease.

Though Norgren has struggled with symptoms of lupus since he was 5 years old, he was officially diagnosed in 1980 as an adult. He learned to cope with flare-ups, when the disease is most active.

After coping on his own for many years, Norgren finally turned to the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM). He attended meetings and shared his experience with other lupus patients. “I’ve never met a lupus patient I didn’t like,” Norgren says. “These are real heroes, fighting through this disease.”

Norgren’s positive outlook helped him become a 2015 LFM Ambassador, a role that he relishes. It gives him a chance to promote awareness and education. “I feel fortunate to be loved and to be a part of LFM,” he says. “I try to treat people like I want to be treated.”