5th Annual D.C. Lupus Walk to Celebrate New Lupus Drug

15-Year-Old Singer Kicks off Milestone Event

Mar 24, 2011, 16:55 ET from Lupus Foundation of America-DC/MD/VA Chapter

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost 3,000 walkers will celebrate the first drug developed for lupus in more than 50 years during the milestone 5th Annual Walk for Lupus Now! D.C. on Sat., April 16. Approved by the FDA on March 9, BENLYSTA by Human Genome Sciences (HGS) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) represents relief for the unrelenting pain faced by many lupus patients whose disease still lacks a cure. American Idol-ready Devin Kowl (http://www.devinkowl.com/), a 15-year-old singer whose aunt, Anya Gaskins Pearson, died from lupus at age 27, will kick off the walk.

Registration: 8:30 a.m. Walk: 9:30 a.m.12:00 p.m. Location: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., between 13th and 12th Sts. There is no fee to walk. Registration: http://www.dclupuswalk.org.

With hopes of topping last year's goal of $250,000, walk proceeds will support the Lupus Foundation of America-DC/MD/VA Chapter's many free services for the 80,000+ people in the Washington metro area with lupus, a chronic, autoimmune disease with no known cure that can damage any part of the body including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and the brain.

"On our anniversary walk, we are thrilled to celebrate BENLYSTA as relief for millions of lupus patients that will hopefully incite more research to someday find a cure," said Penny Fletcher, president and CEO, LFA-DC/MD/VA. "Every year we double or triple the number of walkers and proceeds that are critical to fund our free patient services including workshops, support groups, two annual symposia, teleconferences, phone support and our Patient Navigation Program," she said.

Among the highest fundraisers, Walk Co-Chair and lupus patient Krista Blackburn said that her Kickin' it 4 Krista team has set a lofty goal of $20,000 this year (after raising $19,850 last year). "This year's walk marks the celebration of the first new Lupus drug approved by the FDA in over 50 years which is yet another motivating factor as we continue to raise awareness and funds to hopefully find a cure," she said.

Diagnosed with lupus at age 14 almost 23 years ago, walk Co-Chair Katina Stapleton of Team Butterfly Lessons has doubled her team's 2011 goal to $2000.

Click to see what it's like to live with lupus.


Web site :http://www.lupusdmv.org

SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America-DC/MD/VA Chapter