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Counselor Stories

Maria-Elena Hodgson

LupusLine® Peer Counselor of 20 years

Maria-Elena Hodgson storyMy name is Maria-Elena Hodgson. In 1987, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythmatosis and I had kidney involvement. As I desperately tried to find information about lupus at that time, I realized the only information available was either outdated or presented a grim future. I was angered because I did not have the information to help me understand and deal with this illness. more

LupusLine®, begun in 1988, is the only national telephone peer support program offering one-to-one emotional support and education to people with lupus in the New York tri-state region, across the country and internationally. The program links people who need the service with trained volunteers who have lupus.

Following a talk with our professional social worker, callers are individually matched with a trained volunteer, who shares the special understanding of living with lupus or a family member of someone with lupus.  New callers are encouraged to contact the Program Manager weekdays between 9am and 5pm EST.


Priscilla Toral, LCSW
Program Manager
866.375.1427 (toll-free)

In our members own words:

"My counselor was very caring and warm. She was always available to me."
Marilyn, Brooklyn, New York

"LupusLine was fantastic. I learned about my lupus and about how to speak with my doctor more effectively."
Naomi, Whitestone, New York


Support Program Summaries

HSS offers a number of free programs that reflect our comprehensive approach to care for people with lupus, myositis and rheumatoid arthritis.