In 1995, at the age of 9, Vu was diagnosed with Lupus, when it first attacked her kidneys. Lupus is a severe, incurable and debilitating multisystem autoimmune disease.
Vu, who is now 34, continues to fight Lupus.
In 2008, at the age of 22, Vu suffered a stroke during a family trip to Adelaide. As a result of her stroke, Vu was unable to talk properly, lost all memory of the six months prior to the stroke and was paralysed down the left side of her body.
Vu spent a month in the Royal Adelaide Hospital before being transported to the Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, where she spent another six months and underwent four operations to stop bleeding and fluid on the brain.
She returned home and spent 18 months attending Dandenong Hospital’s rehabilitation centre and Angliss Community Rehabilitation Centre learning to walk and talk properly again and regain her memory.
Vu was excited when she first walked following her stroke. She still wears a leg brace but one of Vu’s many life goals is to dispense of the brace.
In 2009, Vu was diagnosed with Epilepsy which prevented her from working full-time. However, the diagnosis did not prevent her from continuing her academic studies.
Prior to her stroke, Vu had commenced studying her Bachelor of Business degree at Swinburne and, after her rehabilitation, she returned to her studies and graduated in 2011.
In 2012, Vu returned to study at Swinburne and graduated with a Masters of Marketing in 2014.
During her treatment at Monash, Vu had close contact with Professor Eric Morand and Dr Alberta Hoi at the Monash Medical Centre for Inflammatory Diseases (now known as the Monash Lupus Clinic). Professor Morand and Dr Hoi suggested that Vu contact Rob Jolly, whose daughter, Kim, had passed away at the young age of 32, with Lupus, having been diagnosed with the condition at the age of 22. Following Kim’s passing, Rob and his late wife, Christine, established the Kim Jolly Lupus Research Fund, through Monash Medical Centre, as a fund-raising initiative. It was also during her time in hospital and rehab, that Vu decided that she wanted to do something positive to fight Lupus. Following talks with Rob, both Vu and Rob agreed that the Kim Jolly Lupus Research Fund would be a wonderful way to continue to raise funds, whilst honouring Kim’s memory.
Vu’s main focus now is to raise funds for Lupus research, increase community awareness of Lupus, provide support for people with Lupus and, ultimately, assist in finding a cure for Lupus.
Vu, with the help of her family and huge group of friends, held her first fund-raising event in Richmond, raising over $10,000.
In September 2015, Lupus Victoria held its first informal board meeting and it was incorporated in January 2016. The Board consists of Vu Nguyen, Rob Jolly, Michael Kim, Kaye Thomas, Dovi Domingo and Sammi Palinkas. It must be said that without Vu’s dedication and perseverance, Lupus Victoria would not exist.
Vu has also established an online Lupus Victoria support group comprising people from all over Victoria.
Vu’s dream has become a reality but her passion to help to ultimately find a cure for Lupus will continue.