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'I just never really lost hope', Daemen's Gretchen Beyer stays positive during lupus diagnosis

Gretchen Beyer Daemen
Posted at 4:00 PM, Oct 24, 2021

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — When life knocks you down, you get back up. Gretchen Beyer knows this all too well.

As a sophomore on the Daemen women's soccer team, Gretchen's season hasn't gone according to plan. She's permanently sidelined after tearing her ACL and meniscus during the preseason.

"I know my body as an athlete and I knew it wasn't just any other bruise or bump or anything," she said. "So, I just take it as another bump in the road."

The recovery process is 9-10 months but Gretchen's still at practice every day, cheering on those who were there for her when she needed them the most.

"Things happen to us in life and we're only given enough of what we can handle," Daemen coach Dan Dolan said. "Not many people can go through what Gretchen has gone through in the past year."

Back in January, long before her injury, Gretchen wasn't feeling well. A month later, blood tests revealed she had lupus nephritis, a kidney disorder and complication of systemic lupus.

The diagnosis was hard both mentally and physically.

"At the time I was diagnosed, I could barely walk," she recalled. "I couldn't even walk up the stairs because my joints were so swollen and it hurt so bad. That was scary not knowing if I was going to come out of that."

But Gretchen has continued to make strides, even when doctors told her playing soccer again would be difficult.

"I just never really lost hope," Gretchen said. "I kept working at it and kept doing what they were telling me and then it paid off."

Gretchen still has her struggles. She takes thirteen pills a day, gives herself a shot once a week, and has to be extra cautious because of her weakened immune system.

But she remains positive, grateful to be a student-athlete, and determined to get back on the field.

"Trying to be as normal a kid as possible, that's all I can hope for."