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Townsquare Media Lubbock account executive Danny Loa shared her powerful story with me, and I bring this to you with tears in my eyes.

With a heavy heart, we share this story of a family member of Lubbock's long-time favorite BBQ joint, Big E's on Buddy Holly Avenue.

The Big E family is deeply saddened by the loss of their daughter, Vianca Thomas. The family hopes that more awareness is brought to the critical need for Lupus treatment and research.

A warrior and survivor for many years, Vianca fought with amazing spirit and love of life and her courage has touched many of us. An Estacado High School graduate, her vibrant spirit has uplifted many here in Lubbock.

This is a story for our Lubbock community that needs to be shared to commemorate her and to raise awareness to help make a difference for all who continue to struggle with Lupus.

The family hopes that those who knew her or are inspired by her story will donate to the Lupus Foundation.

Here's her powerful story as shared so well by our dear friend and coworker Danny Loa:

Big E’s lost their daughter Vianca Thomas. If you had been to any concert at the amphitheater and had a brisket wrap, or we're looking for some late-night grub in the depot district at Big E’s you may have visited with Vianca. Vianca Lanese Thomas was born to Mitzi C.Scott and Ferlis W.Ellis on October 22, 1987.

Lubbock lost her sweet gentle soul on July 28th. Vianca was a 2006 graduate at Estacado high school where she was a member of the academic decathlon, national honor Society, and played violin in the orchestra. She was also in the medical program where she became a CNA and went to work at Whisperwood. Vianca also worked at Amigos, Converges, and Mosaic until she became ill. Vianca battled with Lupus for 16 years and never gave up, she was a warrior, she was a fearless dialysis patient where she met and said goodbye to many friends. she loved art, music, traveling and cooking which if you knew her you've tasted her cooking! Her cooking comforted her during her hard times and she always shared photos of what she created.

Vianca is survived by her family whom she was very devoted to and loved dearly. If you would like to help the family asks to donate to the Lupus foundation. If you can't donate please share it, and say a prayer for the family and this sweet angel. Vianca Thomas was adored by so many and will be greatly missed.

Vianca will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her father at Big E's BBQ, her family, and friends.

We're grateful to Danny Loa for sharing her story that has the power to touch us all and inspire us to make a difference. You can visit the Lupus Foundation of America's website to learn more about Lupus and how you can help others in their fight against this heartbreaking disease.