Invisible battles: How autoimmune disease affects a family 

In Living Color is a multiplatform storytelling series created for and by Angelenos. We’re showcasing the vibrant tapestry of experiences of life in L.A. by amplifying unique voices, views and perspectives.

About this episode

High school senior Madison Henderson explores how the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease can impact an entire family. The episode discusses themes of racial discrimination in medicine, overcoming medical trauma, motherhood and more. Most importantly, it’s about familial bonds in times of struggle. 

Madison Henderson (she/her) is a senior at Da Vinci Communications High School. She has a deep passion for writing and creating, and aspires to be a playwright and novelist. Madison brings this passion to her work as a reporter and assistant editor for the school newspaper. 

Neka Anderson (she/her), mother to Madison and Kendal, was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disorder, in December 2021. Neka values her family and wants to find a balance between life, work and her diagnosis. 

Kendal Anderson (she/her), sister to Madison, is a middle school student who is passionate about her family and friends. She values every aspect of her identity and strives to be a veterinarian when she grows up. 

Jimmie Anderson (he/him), father to Madison and Kendal, is a family man who always works to protect and care for his family. He values self improvement and doing all that can be done to help those he loves.

About the collaboration

In fall 2022, AfroLA began a partnership with Da Vinci Communications High School in El Segundo to highlight audio storytelling work produced by journalism students. Students’ work for class became the foundation for a live conversation exploring topics from the initial assignment with in-studio guests. Partnering with Da Vinci’s students, many of whom are students of color, enabled AfroLA to engage youth in the community by giving them a storytelling platform. Every step of production was driven by students with mentoring, editing and technical assistance from AfroLA as needed.


Reporting & host: Madison Henderson

Video editing & production: Adryel Talamantes

Original music: Cliff Brown

Special thanks to Santa Monica College’s Center for Media and Design for the use of their studio facilities for our recording session. We especially appreciate the coordination and cooperation of Professor Redelia Shaw

Help shape our coverage.

AfroLA's work is driven by what our audience tells us that they need and want from us as a local news provider. Take our information needs survey. (C''ve got a few minutes to spare.)

Back to top