A state representative from right here in the valley, takes on a huge challenge that is perhaps one greater than any he has faced in the state legislature.
On Thursday afternoon, Eddie Lucio III announced he has lupus.
"I have a disease that a majority of those who have it are women, said Lucio III. I also have a disease that affects one in 10 women with my thyroid, so I guess I'm very sensitive."
With a slight sense of humor, the state representative made his announcement.
"I was diagnosed about 6 to 8 weeks ago." said Lucio III.
"When our son was diagnosed a few weeks ago, we were devastated. said his father Senator Eddie Lucio.
Flanked by his father, his wife and daughter, and Harlingen physicians, the Cameron county attorney explained during a press conference on national lupus day that he has systemic lupus. A disease which must be treated aggressively and was luckily caught early.
"For me, early detection found that my joints were so long term that I couldn't bounce back from it, said Lucio III. So that TMs why it TMs a degenerative debilitating disease and that's why early detection is important to get symptoms under control.
The young District 38 representative was aware something was wrong a few years ago.
"In session, I had pain in my knees in my hands, said Lucio III. Nothing that kept me from getting up in the morning and doing my job because I would do my job until my dying breathe.
The man who has been a champion for his constituents could not fight the reality of what was happening to his body.
"It got so bad that I couldn't unbutton my shirt, or put on my tie, said Lucio. Even picking up my daughter and putting her in her car seat was a task."
Lucio now gets a shot every week and is on oral medications and vitamins to battle the disease.
His doctor expects him to be in remission in as soon as six to nine months.
With the strength he's gained since getting diagnosed and treated, Lucio is spreading awareness about the disease in which 1.5 million Americans are also combatting.
He TMs using his position as a state leader to help save a life, since he feels his has been spared.
"Moving forward I feel great, said Lucio III. I feel the best I TMve felt in two years. I have my energy back and I'm pain free. "
There is a lupus 5k planned for Saturday May 19th by the Lupus Foundation.
The event will be at Pendleton Park in Harlingen starting with registration at 8 a.m.
All proceeds benefit the Lupus Foundation, and the state representative and the senator will be in attendance.