In 2015, we had the pleasure of teaming up one of our interns, Alessia Petzold, with one of our self-publishers, Kayla-Jordan Parris. Kayla was then still in her school uniform, a student at Bishop Anstey High School, and a fierce slam poet and Lupus warrior to boot.
Together, they made a beautiful book called "Kayla's Way", featuring Kayla's poems, illustrated by her cousin Stephanie Warren-Gittens. Kayla used the sale of the book to raise funds for the Voice of Lupus Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Kayla continued to fight Lupus and live her life to the fullest, being an outspoken social commentator. She lost her mother, who also suffered from the condition, to COVID, and heartbreakingly, this bright young light also was extinguished from this world on January 12, 2023.
Here the lovely obituary for her from the Voice of Lupus Foundation's Facebook site:
"It is with a heavy heart that the Voice of Lupus Foundation announce the sudden passing of Lupus Warrior Kayla Jordan Parris.
We first met young Kayla when she was just 9 years old when she wrote a children's book talking about what it's like living with Lupus back in 2012.
Kayla donated $1500.00 to the Voice of Lupus Foundation from her book sales.
We always kept an eye on her as we never doubted that she was destined for great things.
Boy were we right! We saw Kayla transform from a shy young girl to a beautiful young woman with a boisterous voice and a deep love and passion for the spoken word.
We are so proud of her advocacy efforts over the years to help educate Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹 about Lupus. Just last year, Kayla agreed to become more involved in our advocacy efforts and wear the cap of one of our Youth Ambassadors....
She passed away suddenly during the early hours of this morning. It was unexpected.
Unfortunately, this is the brutal reality of what Lupus is and what it can do.
Lupus is an auto immune disease that can be potentially fatal, wreaking havoc on all the organs and tissues in the body. There is no cure for Lupus."
RIP Kayla-Jordan Parris, brave and beautiful poet.
The Voice of Lupus Foundation continues to fight to give Lupus a Voice
in Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹 and bolster the much needed awareness to
help better support those living with the disease.
The Voice of Lupus Foundation is a registered NGO fiercely committed to improving the quality of lives for all people living with Lupus since 2011 through investing in initiatives that promote Advocacy, Awareness, Public Education and Support of Patients.
For those who wish to volunteer or donate to the Voice of Lupus can contact The VLF's Lupus Learning Resource Centre at (868) 327-0220 or (868) 221-9677, firstname.lastname@example.org
Name of Account: The Voice of Lupus Foundation
Type of Account: Business Chequing Account
Name of Bank: RBC Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago
Account Number: 110000001427337