WASHINGTON, June 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, June 25, 250 lupus activists from across the nation will take to Capitol Hill to make their voices heard and urge Congress to support expanding the medical research effort on lupus and access to treatments during the Lupus Foundation of America's National Lupus Advocacy Summit. Thousands more will call, email, or send letters to their Members of Congress. Lupus activists will also present more than 30,000 petitions from individuals calling upon Congress to expand the medical research effort on lupus.
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. Research to better understand the disease and discover effective treatments is greatly underfunded relative to its scope and devastation. Without sufficient funding from public and private sources, research efforts into the causes of lupus and the discovery of new treatments will be delayed, and the search for a cure will be seriously impaired.
"We urge everyone to contact their Representatives and join us in the call for increased funding for lupus research and increased access to medications," said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. "We must work together to elevate lupus on the nation's health care agenda and ensure that lupus receives the attention and resources it deserves."
As part of the day's events a luncheon will be held to honor Congressman David McKinley (R-WV-1) where he will be presented with the LFA Distinguished Leadership Award. Congressman McKinley will be recognized for his sponsorship of the Patients' Access to Treatment Act, which limits cost sharing for specialty drug tier medications, enabling patient access to treatments, reduce disability, and contain health care costs.
"Since I was diagnosed with lupus, I have had a colon resection, gall bladder removal, a stroke, and total hysterectomy. This is just the physical impact of lupus, there is also a tremendous financial and emotional burden on my family and all families affected by lupus that often goes unseen," said lupus activist Erin Kotecki Vest from Los Angeles, CA. "I want Congress and the public to understand how serious and debilitating this disease is, and the urgent need for more research and better treatments, so other families don't have to go through what mine has experienced."
The Foundation's 45-foot purple bus with interactive experiences that demonstrate what it's like to live with lupus will also be on Capitol Hill for Members, their staff, and the public to tour. The bus, part of the Foundation's Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery™ National Tour, will make several stops throughout the District June 24-26. Washington, DC is the latest city on its National tour. The purple bus has visited major cities across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and New York, over the past several months.
In previous years, Congress has responded to advocates' call for an expanded federal effort to address lupus by: opening new sources of federal agency funding for biomedical research on lupus; providing millions of dollars for the first-ever comprehensive national epidemiological study on lupus; and funding the first-ever national multimedia public service advertising campaign on lupus sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health and the Ad Council; and stimulating a national health care provider education initiative to improve lupus diagnosis, treatment, and management among minorities through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health.
The LFA nationwide grassroots network has grown considerably in the last decade to include tens of thousands of lupus activists, supporters, and volunteers from every state. Those who cannot attend the day's events on Capitol Hill can still make their voices heard and get involved.
To find out more about how to get involved, and the LFA's National Lupus Advocacy Summit, visit, www.lupus.org.
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that 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. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. 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.
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, the Foundation leads 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