We have an incredibly powerful untold story of a disease that needs so much more awareness and support. Lupus is relentless for so many families. We must be equally relentless in our efforts; the stakes are simply too high.
As little as 15 years ago, no one spoke of lupus. There was little awareness and understanding of the signs and symptoms. Mandy Collier, one of our 2017 Faces of Hope pictured below states, “I was diagnosed with a disease I had never heard of in the fall of 1998, at the age of 18, after being misdiagnosed for six years. I couldn’t find information anywhere.”
Lupus can be life diminishing and devastating, resulting in great pain and loss for many families. For many living with lupus, the greatest challenge is a lack of understanding; patients often feel they are the only ones who “don’t look sick.” We are here to listen and to make sure everyone with lupus receives answers and support. Mandy, Detra and Levi, our 2017 Faces of Hope, represent many strong Chapter families and volunteers fighting lupus.
Detra Holloway, our Columbus Walk founder and Support Group Leader states, “I have had the opportunity to meet remarkable people who lack knowledge about this chronic disease that could possibly be sitting on their doorstep.” Levi Holcomb, age 19, was able to see a doctor as a recipient of the Chapter’s Emergency Financial Assistance Fund. Mandy Collier, top walker and team for nine years in the Atlanta Walk shares, “I wake up every day, even on the bad ones, and thank God for the day ahead, and pray for the ones this disease took too soon. I
make the most of the little things, desperate to enjoy every moment I have.”
The impact on the Georgians served and empowered by our Chapter is compelling, reaching new patients and communities in 120 counties of the 159 in Georgia. Our footprint is far greater than our small fiscal budget and staff. This fall, and in 2017, we will host 12 educational programs. In the past 10 years, we have held 68 programs. The Georgia Chapter is a lifeline and a voice of hope for the 55,000 Georgians living with lupus.
Ninety percent of every dollar donated stays in Georgia to fund our programs, resources and advocacy. We also support the National Lupus Foundation of America’s funding and advocating for lupus research. Fifty-seven rheumatologists and other specialists serve on our expanded and engaged Medical Advisory Board, the largest in the national network. These physicians donate their time and expertise at our statewide education programs, share our resources with their patients and support our events.
Your contribution of $50, $100, $250 or more will ensure that together, we work towards a brighter future for all those living with lupus. The cruel mystery does not daunt us. Please support our Chapter and our families
fighting lupus! Our very best wishes for the Holiday Season and the New Year. Thank you!
R. Patrick White