Yolanda Foster has bravely let her fans into her struggles with chronic Lyme disease since her diagnosis — and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills mom is now opening up about how two of her children, Bella and Anwar, have also battled the disease. "When my two youngest children, Bella and Anwar, were diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in early 2012, watching my babies struggle in silence in order to support me in my journey, struck the deepest core of hopelessness inside of me," she told People at the Global Lyme Alliance inaugural gala. She, too, was diagnosed with the illness in 2012.
At the event, Yolanda was surronded by her three children, including oldest Gigi, as well as her husband David Foster, Gigi's boyfriend, Joe Jonas, and RHOBH pal, Kyle Richards. "There's so much negativity that comes with doing a reality show, but it's time like this where you think: Okay, this is actually something positive that we can do and bring awareness to and just be a moral support for her," Kyle told the site. "So that's why we're here."
Yolanda was presented with the "Power of One" award at the event, held in NYC, by Gigi. "I remember when she was going into the first season of filming, she said to me, 'I don't know why this show was brought to my life, but for some reason, I think it will lead to something bigger,'" Gigi reportedly said inside the event. "She realized that she could use this platform of this world-famous television show to spread awareness. She was honest, unapologetic, and raw in how she portrayed Lyme disease on social media and on the show from the second she announced to the world she had been diagnosed."
On stage during her speech, Yolanda, who one point lost the ability to read and write because of the ailment, opened up about how having Lyme disease has affected her role as a mother. "This award is for Anwar and Bella. This is my token and my promise to you that I will not allow you to live a life of pain and suffering. I will walk to the end of the earth to find a cure so that you can live a healthy life that you deserve," she said. "No child should suffer the way that you do ... I thank you both for your extraordinary selflessness during this journey. Your unwavering love and compassion has kept me alive and fighting through the darkest days of my life."
"I am so sorry for all the important things I have missed in your life these past four years," she continued. "I used to be a pretty cool, smart, multi-tasking, kickass mom. But all three of you, all three of my children really got short-changed with a dumb blonde in the white robe, that mostly lives her life in bed."
Yolanda, who frequently praises her children on social media, noted that she's been able to keep an eye on them thanks to Instagram and Twitter. "I did turn into a professional social media stalker, though—liking every Twitter and Instagram you have ever posted," she said. "Just to let you know that I was watching you from afar and right by your side in spirit at all times."
Check out a few more photos from the event, below.