During a time when health and wellness are top of mind, many are looking for creative ways to boost their own well-being and at the same time seeking opportunities to do something truly meaningful for others. Whether you or someone you care about is living with lupus or not, you can make a positive contribution to the search for a cure, while also enjoying the benefits of a healthful walk and the empowering feeling that you are part of a larger community working toward a common purpose.
What is lupus?
According to the Lupus Research Alliance (LRA), lupus is a serious and chronic autoimmune disease, in which a person’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. Lupus is a complex disease that can be debilitating. It affects each individual differently, with varying symptoms that can make it difficult to diagnose. Some of the most common symptoms of lupus include extreme fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes and fevers. It disproportionately affects women, especially women of color, and is typically diagnosed in the prime of their lives. There is no cure and few treatment options, none of which work for everyone.
How you can help
This year marks the 20th anniversary of “Walk with Us to Cure Lupus,” the Lupus Research Alliance’s signature national fundraising program, from which 100% of donations go to lupus research programs, because the Lupus Research Alliance’s Board of Directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs. Participating in the Walk, whether alone or as part of a group, is a fun way to support a worthwhile cause: helping to fund important research to develop personalized treatments and ultimately, a cure for lupus.
What began with the very first Walk in Washington, D.C. in 2002 has grown over the past 20 years to unite tens of thousands of people across the country, who together have raised more than $42 million for lupus research. Each Walk is motivated by one goal: to let people living with lupus know there is an entire community behind them, with everyone in it working toward finding a cure.
People living with lupus find the Walks especially meaningful:
* Debbie Schwartz leads a Walk team of over 40 people, raising more than $20,000 toward lupus research. “I support Walk with Us to Cure Lupus because I have lupus, and I don’t want the next generation to suffer like I have,” Schwartz said.
* Walk team leader Enrico Costabile engages his coworkers in volunteering, fundraising and awareness events for lupus, and is an active social media advocate showing the real impact of lupus on his life. “I support Walk with Us to Cure Lupus because I want to take control back from a disease that has taken so much power away from me,” Costabile said.
Walk in person or virtually
Even through the past two years of change and uncertainty, LRA’s Walk community has shown its strong, ongoing commitment to one goal: supporting lupus research that will unravel the complexity of this debilitating disease so a treatment and cure can be targeted to each person.
You can join one of LRA’s in-person Walk events or participate in this year’s virtual Walk. Either way, you’ll unite with Walkers in one common goal: to help others in their treatment journey and ultimately find a cure.
“Walk with Us to Cure Lupus has become one of our most meaningful programs,” said Andrea O’Neill, executive director of the Lupus Research Alliance. “People walk for themselves, for their loved ones living with lupus, as well as for the community as a whole. It’s so inspiring to see thousands of people nationwide get involved to help raise funds to find a cure.”
Ready to make a difference? Together with the lupus community, you and “ManyOne Can.” Visit Support.LupusResearch.org to learn more and to register for a Walk near you, or to sign up for the virtual Walk, and get involved today. LRA continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and will modify the Walk schedule if needed.