CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth musician is on a mission to raise awareness for lupus, one concert and one drumbeat at a time.
Dion Langley has been playing the drums for years — it’s his passion and his career.
“Drumming was, it was a cool way of expressing myself,” said Dion Langley. “I knew that I had a talent for it and I knew it was probably something I can do for the rest of my life.”
However, his life changed when he was diagnosed with lupus in 2010. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation throughout the body. It’s not contagious, and doctors aren’t sure what causes it.
“When I got diagnosed, it really scared me because I didn’t know what lupus was,” said Langley. “I think for me, when you’re used to doing stuff, playing with your kids, being active, you know, being that guy that can get up and go all day, to just having to shut down, your body shuts down.”
90 percent of people with lupus are women, so when Langley was diagnosed, he felt alone.
“I went into a shell, a hiding shell for probably like two years,” Langley said.
It wasn’t until he fainted while on a tour that he finally opened up.
“I just had to really just sit and turn my negative into a positive,” said Langley. “A lot of times you take a bad situation and turn it into something good and that’s why I’m advocating the way I do now and doing what I do.”
With tours on hold during the pandemic, he put his focus toward raising awareness for lupus. He also created an organization called #BeatLupus and wears that message every time he plays.
“I got that, they give me that look like ‘Whoah I didn’t know men get lupus’ so, at that time, it gave me a chance to share my story and advocate,” said Langley.