We are excited to celebrate 10 years of growth of the Georgia Chapter and our Walk to End Lupus Now.
As little as 15 years ago, no one spoke of lupus. There was little awareness and understanding of the signs and symptoms. For many like Chris Reed, one of our 2016 Faces of Hope pictured below, simply confirming a lupus diagnosis was a relief.
At the age of sixteen, Chris Reed was in an ICU unit with pericarditis, pleuritis and anemia. For eight years, Chris battled symptoms including headaches, chest pain, and shortness of breath while enduring countless medical tests and doctors’ visits before he was finally diagnosed with lupus. He attended a Chapter new patient meeting, met others, and garnered the strength and encouragement to pursue college and graduate from law school. Today, Chris leads our Men’s Lupus Support Group and hosts a Walk team.
Lupus can be life-diminishing and devastating, resulting in great pain and loss for many families. It strikes without warning and can ravage any part of the body. 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.
The impact on the lupus patients and families served and empowered by the Georgia Chapter’s programs and resources is compelling. Our footprint across the state is far larger than our small fiscal budget and staff, reaching new patients in 120 counties of the 159 in Georgia. In 2016, we will host eleven educational programs. In the past 10 years, we have held 58 programs. We are one of the fastest-growing LFA Chapters in the nation because we are building friendships at every opportunity to grow our “Chapter Family.” From the leaders of the first support group meetings in the 1980’s who welcomed Chris, to the largest lupus Walk in the country, we are engaging people who care about someone with lupus.
Our dedicated Chapter Boards include fifty-five rheumatologists and other specialists who serve on our expanded and engaged Medical Advisory Board, the largest in the LFA network. These physicians donate their time and expertise at our statewide education programs, share our resources with their patients, and support our events.
Ninety percent of every dollar donated stays in Georgia to fund our programs, resources, and advocacy. We also support the National LFA efforts funding and advocating for lupus research.
Your contribution of $50, $100, $250 or more will ensure we continue to fight for the 55,000 Georgians living with lupus. The cruel mystery does not daunt us. Join our family in the fight to end lupus!
Our very best wishes for the Holiday Season and the New Year. Thank you!
Chapter President and CEO