NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A local woman with lupus wants to educate people about her condition through a message on the back of your car.
Chastity Corbett was diagnosed with lupus in 2005. Now, she's advocating for two new specialty license plates raising awareness of lupus and fibromyalgia, letting people with the conditions know they aren't alone.
"It's like a war going on inside our body every day," said Corbett, the CEO and founder of the Social Butterflies Foundation. "It's a struggle just to get up in the morning and to get moving so you can do whatever you need to do that day."
According to the CDC, lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects different parts of the body. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body.
"They're considered invisible illnesses, so one of our visions is to make these invisible illnesses visible," Corbett said.
Corbett is aiming to turn her vision into reality with specialty license plates.
"These plates would bring awareness. Just imagine driving down the road and you see somebody else with the lupus awareness or fibromyalgia awareness plate, and you're a survivor yourself. You may think, 'I'm not alone, there are other people out there,'" Corbett said.
Now, Corbett is fighting for this awareness campaign to move to the General Assembly next session, with the help of Del. Marcia Price representing the 95th district.
"We have legislators that are passing on tweets and Facebook posts so that their district would know about it, Senators as well," Price said. "It's something that we're all getting behind."
For the plates to become official, 450 pre-orders for each license plate must be placed by December 31st. If approved and signed by the governor, the plates will then be available for sale to the public.
"There are so many people that have lupus and fibromyalgia, and this is also a way to fundraise for research, awareness and education campaigns," Price said. "I think when more people start hearing about it, knowing about it, and they're spreading it to their friends, we'll get there. We won't stop until we do."
In addition, in 2018, Corbett founded the non-profit organization Social Butterflies Foundation. It provides resources for individuals battling with lupus, including emergency assistance to survivors and their families.
Corbett said the organization also provides college scholarships and a wig outreach program.
Leaders said so far more than 60 families have pre-ordered a specialty license plate. Individuals will need to pre-order 350 more before they can get the specialty license plate.
If you’re interested in ordering one, you can find more information here.