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Fleur de Cure logo and a headshot of Alex Sommerville
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Creating Joyful Moments

How Alex Sommerville’s journey led to the new NPF Fleur de Cure events.

“Having a chronic disease, I don't have anybody else in my family or my friend group that's really dealt with anything like this, and it can be very lonely,” Alex Sommerville says. Looking at her smiling face through the video screen, I’m presented with the opposite of lonely. She exudes warmth and energy that masks the long and winding journey that got her here.

She tells me she often hears from others that she can’t have psoriatic arthritis (PsA) because she’s too young. Those people can’t see her pain. They can’t see the worry.

“I was diagnosed with psoriasis in 2013 and psoriatic arthritis in 2015, so it's been a minute,” she says. “Getting diagnosed was a process, especially with psoriatic arthritis.”

After too much disappointment and pain, Sommerville did find relief. “I was able to find a doctor that was willing to put in the effort with me and really work alongside me in that journey and [I] got the diagnosis. That felt like a great milestone,” she says.

Sommerville is wise and empathetic. As soon as she mentions the happy ending to her own journey, she acknowledges the challenges others are facing. “Ultimately, I landed on a biologic injection, and that's been awesome and life-changing for me,” she says. “I know it’s not the same for everybody.”

Finding Community

When Sommerville’s not working as the director of brand development for a Chicago-based creative agency, she can be found teaching graphic design as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Design or lending her time as a member of the board of directors for the American Institute of Graphic Arts. She works within a large and intertwined network of professionals, teachers, and students, yet she carries her own unique burdens.

Four or five years ago, Sommerville had trouble connecting with others. Family and friends couldn’t understand the unique challenges she faces. The isolation of life with a chronic disease – especially one that’s visible – can engulf even the busiest and most connected of people. “It can be very lonely, so I started following different accounts on Instagram and that ended up leading me to NPF. You know, by way of the algorithm,” she says with a smile.

The community Sommerville found at National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) events in her area was refreshing, and perhaps it was a touch inspiring too. After she recognized the opportunities for community connection through NPF, Sommerville identified the need for a vibrant, inclusive event. Then she stepped up and volunteered her time to make it happen.

Introducing the Fleur de Cure

As the chair of the Fleur de Cure event committee, Sommerville is debuting a new type of NPF event. “I became more involved in NPF, and this event specifically, because I think it can be such a great way of building community,” she says. “It's nice to be able to have an event that’s very celebratory and have people get excited and raise money for a good cause.”

Sommerville is melding her skill for branding, design, and community-building to help NPF create an event that honors this community while raising critical funds to cure psoriasis and PsA.

Fleur de Cure New York

April 19, 2023
New York Botanical Gardens

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Fleur de Cure Chicago

May 11, 2023
The Ivy Room
Presented by Janssen

Join us

Sommerville and her fellow event organizers in Chicago and New York are hoping that these springtime garden parties are alive with a spirit of hope for a future without this disease. “We need joyful moments to just come together and celebrate,” she says. “It’s a nice bright spot – something for people to look forward to.”

Meet the Honorees

The New York City Fleur de Cure will honor Soumya M. Reddy, M.D., and Frank Morano, who lives with psoriatic disease. Dr. Reddy is an assistant professor for the Department of Medicine and the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University Grossman School of Medicine. She is a member of the NPF Medical Board.

The Chicago event will honor G. Michael Lewitt, M.D., FAAD, and Diana S. Sandler, M.D., FACR. Dr. Lewitt is a member of the NPF Medical Board and a dermatologist at the Illinois Dermatology Institute in Chicago. Dr. Sandler is a rheumatologist affiliated with NorthShore University Health Systems-Metro Chicago as well as Evanston Hospital.

Many Voices, One Mission

This spring, NPF will honor leaders in the psoriatic disease community in Washington, D.C.

Join us

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