As Hugh Laurie’s character on the hit television show “House” always says, “It’s never Lupus.” Although the saying is humorous, the fact remains for 1.5 million people nationwide and over 22,500 people in Louisiana, it is lupus.
To raise awareness about lupus, provide support to researchers and affected individuals of lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is there and on Saturday, Sept. 25, the Louisiana chapter of the LFA hosted “Walk for Lupus Now” on Southeastern’s campus to raise awareness of the disease and bring in donations.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an auto-immune disease that can attack any part of the human body. Like other auto-immune diseases, lupus causes the immune system to attack an individuals cells and tissue causing inflammation and damage to bodily tissue.
The walk was on campus in front of McClimans at 9 am setting up and allowing walkers to sign in and make an optional donation to the LFA before the walk officially started at 9:30 am.
The walk’s route started off at McClimans and went around campus via North Oak Street, to University Avenue, to North General Pershing Street, onto West Dakota and back around to North Oak Street. In total, the walk was two miles from start to finish around campus and for those who couldn’t walk that far, an one mile walk route was offered.
“As a lupus patient i am pleased that there is finally a local event to raise awareness and hope to an until recently untouched population,” said Southeastern graduate student Sarah Scafidel.
In attendance were teams who were raising money for the LFA, local Hammond citizens as well as Southeastern students.
“I’m glad to see that they’re doing a Lupus Walk in this area,” said Southeastern graduate student Wes Pfeiffer. “They’ve never had one this close to the New Orleans area before and its good to see that they’re giving back in this area to the lupus community,”
One Southeastern student walked along with one of her coworkers who has lupus.
“I came out to support my coworker, Stacey. She has lupus,” said Southeastern business freshman Blaike Peters. “We’re from the Aspen clinic and i thought [the walk] was really awesome, because there was just a lot of people and [it was nice] getting to meet them.”
The walk lasted until 11:30 am when the walkers arrived back at McClimans and were able to purchase cupcakes and other baked goods. The event ended with closing remarks and entertainment from an Elvis Presley tribute singer.
For statistics on lupus in America, you can visit the LFA’s statistic page here.