The personal story behind the Delaney Open
The Delaney Golf Open on June 4 supports lupus because of personal reasons
Hole sponsorships available through Thursday, June 2
It’s known throughout the medical field as “the cruel mystery.” The disease of lupus isn’t just difficult to diagnose, treatment methods have baffled the medical profession for centuries. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder that, to this day, has no cure.
The symptoms that come with lupus are life changing and frightening. It was over 20 years ago that Kristin (Delaney) Christensen, of North Prairie, Wisconsin began experiencing inexplicable joint pain, hyper-sensitivity to sunlight, fatigue, rashes and she was only 24 at the time, and ten years away from any drug that would help her.
I was really in rough shape,” Christensen said. “A lot of people are probably walking around and don’t know they have it. I was first tested for lime disease. Lupus mimics a lot of other ailments like rheumatoid arthritis.”
A few years later, she found herself in extreme pain. The end result was emergency gallbladder surgery. Her recovery was unusually and mysteriously slow for a young, seemingly healthy woman.
It took her doctors two weeks, but she was eventually diagnosed with a compromised immune system, and the shocking revelation she had signs of lupus.
“It took the doctors two weeks to figure it out,” Christensen said. “Not every body is like that.”
She found Dr. Mark Pearson, a rheumatology specialist in Brookfield who she raves about helping her the most during her years of treatment.
“He’s my favorite guy ever, other than my husband,” Christensen said. “He’ll personally call you and talk to you for 15 minutes. His bedside manner is top notch.”
In 2011, the FDA approved Benlysta, a drug that significantly helps to quell the symptoms that come with lupus. It was a game changer for Christensen.
“When I first started on it about ten years ago it was available intravenously only,” she said. “I was hooked to an IV for two hours. I’m still on that treatment because it works for me. It’s helped me tremendously to keep things under control and at bay. It evens things out and I”m really thankful for it. I would just like to have a cure.”
She’s 44 now, a mother of four and does volunteer work. She is the force behind the last 20 years of the Delaney Open, a fun golf open to benefit the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). It is the 37th year the open has taken place at Christmas Mountain Village, with the first 17 years as a benefit for other similar charities. All proceeds from the event go to the LFA which, for 45 years, has rigorously supported lupus research, medication development and supported lupus patients with an array of resources.
“The whole reason we do this is that I was diagnosed with it,” Christensen said. “Since we switched over our benefit to the Lupus Foundation, it’s amazing the people who’ve come out of the woodwork. It’s amazing to me that I knew nobody with it, and now I know six people with it.”
The Delaney Open is Saturday, June 4 with a shotgun start at 11 a.m, followed by a specially prepared dinner of chicken marsala and ham with mashed potatoes, green beans and a salad.
Hole sponsorships are $100, and go directly to the LFA Wisconsin Chapter. You can sponsor a hole for the Delaney Open by going directly to the LFA donation portal and choose the $100 donation option by clicking here: