Hundreds laced up their best walking shoes and took a stroll in the summer sun in an effort to fight a disease.
The Lupus Foundation of America Illinois Chapter (LFAI) held its largest fundraiser “Walk to End Lupus.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system can’t tell the difference between foreign invaders and the body’s healthy tissues so antibodies start attacking and destroying those healthy tissues, leading to cause inflammation and pain in various parts of the body.
“It is a very difficult disease to diagnose,” said Charles Brummell, President and CEO of LFAI. “Given the symptoms, people are often diagnosed incorrectly and that misdiagnosis could go on for two to three years but it is corrected. It is not curable but it is treatable and if you determine that you have it and get the right medications, you lead a pretty normal life.”
The walk was one of five throughout the Chicagoland area during the summer raising money to help fund the foundation’s supportive services for those with lupus and increasing awareness as well.
Three time Olympic gold medalist with the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and current player for the Chicago Red Stars Shannon Boxx was diagnosed with lupus in 2007 but didn’t make it public until some years later. She met with fans and shared her story with the community.
“With the sport that I play and the level that I play at, fatigue is a big factor with having lupus,” said Boxx. “I didn’t want that to be used in a negative way against me when I told my coaches so I kind of kept quiet. But I realized there’s a much bigger thing going on here so I thought it was more important to speak out about what lupus was than to keep it a secret.”
The Lupus Foundation estimates that about one and half million Americans live with lupus but given the difficulty in diagnosing it, that number may be higher.
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