Richmond Lupus Walk Launches Wider Virginia Services

Oct. 30 Walk Comes Before First Drug in 52 Years for Lupus Due in December

Oct 14, 2010, 17:16 ET from Lupus Foundation of America-DC/MD/VA Chapter

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The newly merged Lupus Foundation of America-DC/MD/VA Chapter (LFA-DC/MD/VA) at will launch wider chapter services in Virginia with the Second Annual Walk for Lupus Now! Richmond on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. at the Richmond International Raceway, 600 E. Laburnum Ave. The walk comes just before BENLYSTA -- the first drug for lupus in 52 years from walk sponsor Human Genome Sciences -- is expected to become available in December. Now serving almost the entire state with an estimated 40,000-plus lupus patients in Virginia, more than 1,000 walkers aim to raise more than $50,000.

Walk proceeds will fund the chapter's many free services including support groups in Richmond and Midlothian, Living with Lupus workshops, education and funding to combat 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. There is no fee to walk. Check-in begins at 2 p.m. To register:

"This year's walk marks our recent merger that now widens our entire service area to most of Virginia including Richmond and Charlottesville, all of Maryland and D.C.," said LFA-DC/MD/VA President and CEO Penny Fletcher, whose chapter now serves 80,000-plus lupus patients in District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. "The walk's proceeds are vital in helping us provide many free, ongoing services to Virginia lupus patients including support groups in Richmond and Midlothian, Living with Lupus workshops and an annual D.C. Symposium led by renowned specialists," she said.

UPS Freight Team Leader Hilary Greek, 35, was diagnosed with lupus in 2001 with a whole-body rash and pain as never experienced, followed by a loss of appetite and significant hair loss. A top walk fundraiser aiming to raise $3,000, she now takes 30 pills a day and participates in support groups online because she cannot drive to them.

"I walk because I can't remember what it's like to not be in pain," said Greek, a former UPS rate analyst who left her job after the onset of cognitive dysfunction or "lupus fog" caused her thinking to become too impaired to perform her job duties.

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