Thousands of people with lupus in Georgia owe so much to a very brave and remarkable young woman, Tomica Gill, who at only age 32, recently passed away from heart disease related to lupus, a serious and sometimes life-threatening autoimmune disease. Tomica left her entire life insurance policy of $50,000 to the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter, when she died on July 27th. Her large family, including her wheelchair-bound mother, Margaret Gill, drove from Detroit, Michigan, to take Tomica home for her funeral. She was laid to rest on August 8th at the Smith Chapel in Inkster, Michigan, with over 450 friends and family, over 100 from Atlanta and across the country from her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta
When Tomica was diagnosed with lupus at the age of five, the prognosis for people living with the disease was not as good as it is today. When doctors told Tomica she would not live beyond 10, Tomica spiritedly responded, “Yes I will, I have things to do!” Her accomplishments are a testament to her immense courage and determination. She endured several long stays in the hospital as a child and teenage with debilitating drugs and procedures and huge weight fluctuations caused by the medications used to treat lupus. Due to the weight gains, she was often teased in school. She had to complete her final exams for high school and University with a pen between her toes, an art she perfected after years of school work in hospital unable to use her hands due to the effects of lupus on the joints.
In Atlanta Tomica was the student coordinator at the Art Institute of Atlanta for six years where she was loved and will be missed by many. The warmer climate of Atlanta provided comfort to Tomica for her symptoms, and she was very active in her sorority and volunteered to help babies with cancer. She recently received her masters in Psychology and was about to begin her doctorate in September.
Upon hearing about her daughter’s generous gift to the LFA, Georgia Chapter, Tomica’s mother Margaret cried “if she can save one life, Tomica’s sacrifice and pain will all have been worth it!” Margaret hopes Tomica’s legacy will help raise awareness and funds to help improve the lives of all people with lupus.
“Tomica’s mother, Margaret Gill, and her family and friends have formed the first Team for the inaugural Walk for Lupus Now. To sign up to join their team or to make a donation please click here to go to "Tomicas Walk of Love Team".