SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 600 Arizona residents who are living with the disease lupus and their families and friends joined the Lupus Foundation of America's Walk to End Lupus Now™ event at Chaparral Park this past weekend to raise money for lupus research and education programs, increase awareness of the devastating autoimmune disease and rally public support for those who suffer from its brutal impact. The Arizona event is part of America's largest lupus walk program, which is conducted each year by the Lupus Foundation of America and its national network of chapters, offices and support groups.
"I walked to help solve the cruel mystery," said Arizona resident Monique Padilla who has been living with lupus since the age of 12. "Despite the cruel impact of lupus, I fight each day to manage my symptoms, while living though the complexities and the unpredictable effects of this misunderstood disease. We need more awareness, we need more research and we need a cure. We need everyone's help to fight lupus – we can't do it alone."
Lupus ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, strikes without warning, and has no known cause and no known cure. According to a recent independent survey released by the Lupus Foundation of America, 72 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 have either not heard about lupus at all or know little or nothing about the disease beyond the name. The statistic is particularly troubling because this is the age group at greatest risk for the disease, and it emphasizes why Walk to End Lupus Now events are so crucial to raising awareness of lupus.
"Through the Lupus Foundation of America's first Walk to End Lupus Now event in Scottsdale, the community is able to join us in the fight to end lupus," adds Dave Juliano, Arizona Outreach Development Manager for the Lupus Foundation of America. "Lupus is debilitating and destructive and can be fatal, yet research on lupus has not kept pace with research for other diseases of similar scope and devastation. We are so pleased to see so many walkers out this year who have come together to raise money for lupus research and education. The Walk to End Lupus Now event is truly an inspiring show of strength in the battle against lupus."
Valley DJ Rankin Shaver with AZ Music Man Entertainment provided festivities throughout the walk. Scottsdale's Mayor Jim Lane led the opening ceremonies and kicked-off the event, which was crowded with people wearing the Lupus Foundation of America's signature color of purple. As Mayor Lane announced the start of the walk and advocated for everyone's support to increase awareness of the cruel mystery of lupus, cheers were heard throughout the field of lupus survivors. A special memorial wall was in place to write the names of family and/or friends that are no longer with us because of lupus.
The Lupus Foundation of America has many programs that take place throughout the area. The Foundation will host its next education program at the end of July. The event, which will take place in Phoenix, is an opportunity for people living with lupus and their families to learn about the latest developments in lupus research and treatments from some of the nation's leading lupus experts.
To learn more or to make a donation, visit lupusarizona.org.
About the Lupus Foundation of America
The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of America at lupus.org. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America