Determined to Beat Lupus, This Detroiter Leads a Movement

By Yvelette Stines on February 4th, 2015 / Comments

When Sandra Epps was diagnosed with lupus as a teenager, it attacked her central nervous system as well as her heart and kidneys. This led her to be confined to a wheelchair two times both as a teen and adult. According to her doctor, she wasn’t supposed to live long. “I remember my doctor, at the time, said if I was going to survive I would be (disabled),” she reminisces.

Having many dreams for herself, Epps was determined to follow God’s purpose for her life. “First, I wanted to get a degree from college, I am the first in my family to achieve this accomplishment. Also, I always knew as a child that I wanted to make a difference, so I was determined to beat lupus.”

Her determination led her follow her dreams and purpose. As the Executive Director and CEO of She’s Empowered ( and an author Epps is on a mission to encourage people to unfold the gifts within so they can help the world become a better place. She’s Empowered, which stands for “Sisters Helping Encourage Sisters” started in 2010. The mission is to uplift and create awareness about lupus.

Sandra Epps
Sandra Epps

“I remember as a child going to group sessions, and I hated them. It was a lot of complaining and ‘woe is me’ discussion. I didn’t feel empowered,” explains Epps. Through She’s Empowered, Epps started the annual Butterfly Bash. Now in its 6th year the event is a motivational gala packed with entertainment, food, fashion, and uplifting speeches with the mission to create awareness about lupus while motivating participants to be their best selves.

“The event is such an experience for everyone who attends. The butterfly is very symbolic for me as well. It represents the rash that appears on the face of someone who has lupus. It represents transformation, rebirth, prosperity, peace, and growth. It also reminds me of what I’ve been through,” she says. “With the Butterfly Bash I wanted to create something so people would feel empowered when they left, while getting educating people about lupus.”

Along with her annual event, you might have seen Epps out and about face painting in her amazing costume and uplifting both children and adults. “If you sit in my chair we are having a conversation, and you will leave uplifted. I want all of my customers to leave feeling good about themselves.”

Epps always have a creative outlet that helps others, this stems from her own experience of healing. As Epps regained her voice, she added affirmations to her healing process.

“When I was sick, my self-esteem plummeted. I really didn’t want to see people so I really lost myself in art. It was very instrumental in my healing process. I couldn’t talk during this time, so I used art to communicate,” she said.

As a woman who is busy creating awareness about lupus, writing, hosting events, and face painting, she doesn’t take a day for granted.

“With having a near death experience, I am not supposed to be here. I know God has bigger plan for my life and I need to live life to the fullest,” said Epps.

Sandra’s Tips for Living Your Best Life:

1. Don’t listen to negative chatter
2. Challenges are meant to grow you for something great.
3. Believe in yourself.
4. Don’t waste time and take anything for granted.

The Butterfly Bash will take place this year May 17, 2015. Don’t miss out on this great upcoming event. You can learn more about Sandra’s great work with She’s Empowered by visiting her online at



About the Author

Yvelette Stines

Yvelette is an author and freelance writer. Her blog Calming Corners helps readers stay calm and healthy. Follow her at @YveletteStines + @CalmingCorners.