Lacing up to fight Lupus
NewsLacing up to fight Lupus
Anchorage, Alaska-Lupus is a disease that afflicts more than 3,000 people in Alaska alone, but by simply lacing up your walking shoes you can help.
On Saturday, September 19 the Lupus Foundation of Alaska will host the state's first Walk for Lupus NowTM, a national fundraising event aimed at raising both money and awareness of this chronic and debilitating disease.
Lupus can be vicious. Lupus is an acute and chronic (lifelong) autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually every organ system in the body. Its health consequences may include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, or organ failure. Although lupus can affect people of any age or gender, it most often occurs in women during child-bearing years. More than 90 percent of the people with lupus are women. Lupus is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians -- a disparity that remains unexplained.
Anna Tillman, Executive Director for the Lupus Foundation's Alaska Chapter, who herself has lupus, says despite its prevalence many people are unaware of the disease or know very little about it. "It's our job as a local chapter to educate people and to help those with lupus and their families get the care and support they need," she says. Lupus is difficult to diagnose, and as Tillman points out, this is especially an issue in a state such as Alaska with limited access to specialists who treat lupus (there are only four rheumatologists in Alaska and they are all in Anchorage).
The LFA Alaska Chapter is aiming to raise $50,000 and the money will go towards providing patient and family education and support services, referrals to medical and social services, and funding support groups, public information and awareness campaigns, research, and advocacy to generate more public and private support for lupus.
Funds will be raised via corporate sponsorships, donations and walk participation. Several Alaskan companies have already stepped up, including major sponsors CRW Engineering, Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, and KeyBank. It is the first time that the event has been held in Alaska, although Walk for Lupus NowTM has been held annually in other states for several years.
More information about Walk for Lupus Now and the LFA Alaska Chapter is available by calling the local office at (907) 338-6332, by emailing LFA_alaska@hotmail.com, or by visiting the chapter website at www.lupusalaska.org or the Walk website at www.alaskawalk09.kintera.org.
Registration for the walk begins at 9:00 a.m. with walkers hitting the track at 10:00. Teams can compete for most money raised and be eligible for prizes. Other fun and festivities, including music, face painting and other family entertainment will continue during and after the walk. Participants can pre-register and begin their pledges at the Walk For Lupus Now website at www.alaskawalk09.kintera.org.
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About the Lupus Foundation of America
The LFA is the foremost national nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. Founded in 1977, the LFA has a nationwide network of nearly 300 chapters and support groups and operates programs of research, education, and advocacy.
An estimated 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. Lupus is an acute and chronic (lifelong) autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually every organ system in the body. Its health consequences may include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, or organ failure. More than 90 percent of the people with lupus are women. Lupus is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians -- a disparity that remains unexplained.