|Dr. Sam Lim, Kelli Williams, Maria Myler, Mahla Mahdi and Dr. Ignacio Sanz|
A Shared Dream - Hope for a Brighter Future
Mahlia and Sam, pictured on our cover, share a dream. Mahlia Mahdi, diagnosed with lupus when she was only 8 years old, is a brilliant and sweet 5th grader who dreams of being a veterinarian. S. Sam Lim, M.D., MPH, an associate professor in rheumatology at Emory University School of Medicine, has dedicated his career to treating lupus patients and lupus research. Dr. Lim works tirelessly so Mahlia and all those living with lupus, can have a brighter future.
“We, in Georgia and particularly at Emory, are now sitting in many ways at the epicenter of one of the lupus capitals of the world as it relates to patient communities and groundbreaking research at both the population and immunologic levels,” states Dr. Lim. Together with the Georgia Chapter, the state is situated to be the center of advocacy, education, and research activities in lupus for years to come. (Story on pg. 6) “We are committed to ensuring that lupus patients find all the support they need today and that we can provide new and better treatments for the future,” states Dr. Ignacio Sanz, director of the Lowance Center at Emory.
Kelli Williams, pictured here with Mahli, Dr. Lim and Dr. Sanz, is a 24 year old lupus patient and a former Chapter intern working on her Master’s in Public Health with a passion for lupus research. Kelli was diagnosed at 16. She and her family hadnever heard of lupus. Kelli developed pleuritis and pericarditis, yet she never gave up.
“My goal is to find an effective treatment andcure for lupus patients, while helping patients that suffer from disparities in underserved communities,” Kelli states.
In the next 10 years, we hope for a better quality of life for the 55,000 Georgians and the more than 1.5 million Americans suffering from this lifelong disease. Lupus can be very life diminishing and devastating, resulting in great pain and loss for many families. Fifteen years ago, no one spoke of lupus. There was little awareness and understanding of the signs and symptoms with very limited investment in research.
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. Thanks to the ongoing advocacy work by the LFA and our network of activists, federal funding has increased to $207 million in 2014. Today there is also an unprecedented amount of clinical research activity, with more than two dozen companies interested in developing drugs for lupus or lupus nephritis.
The national LFA, the Georgia Chapter and the Emory lupus research programs are leading the way. Together we work to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of lupus, to reduce diagnostic time, help develop safer and less toxic treatments, increase research funding for the cause and one day, a cure. The cruel mystery does not daunt us.
Who We Are
The Georgia Chapter is proud to be led by a strong Board of Directors who provide governance, strategic advice and development assistance.
In addition, the Medical Advisory Board is an organization of physicians and health care workers devoted to the treatment of lupus and related diseases with two main goals: 1) to educate patients as well as the general public throughout the state of Georgia, and 2) to support research that fosters excellence in the care of patients or advances our understanding of the disease.
Chapter Videos - Please take a moment to watch some of our amazing Walk and Gala videos. You will be truly inspired.
The impact on the Georgians served and empowered by the Chapter is compelling. Our footprint in Georgia is far larger than our small fiscal budget and staff reaching 103 counties. This fall, and in 2015, we will host 11 educational symposiums including our first programs in Albany, Columbus, Cumming, Decatur, Duluth and Henry County, reaching new patients and communities. We are one of the fastest growing Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) chapters in the nation because we are building friendships at every opportunity to grow our “Chapter Family.” We are engaging people who care about someone with lupus: their daughters, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers and sons.
Our “Chapter family” includes: over 30 support groups across the state comprising the largest support network in the nation; the largest lupus walk in the country with 9,000 walkers raising more than $525,000. Our expanded Medical Advisory Board donates their time and expertise at our statewide symposiums and shares our resources with their patients.
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 have an incredibly powerful story that needs much more awareness and support. Ninety percent of every dollar donated stays in Georgia to fund Chapter programs, resources and advocacy. We also support the National LFA efforts funding and advocating for lupus research.
We are indebted to the Evans Family for their personal donation to Emory lupus research programs in honor of the Chapter.
The Chapter is a lifeline. We are here to listen and to make sure everyone with lupus receives answers and support. Our family must be strong. Mahlia, Kelli and all we serve deserve nothing less than the brightest future.
Our Reach Across Georgia
Thank You to Our Year Round Sponsors
Contact the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter Staff:
Lupus Foundation of America, GA Chapter
1850 Lake Park Drive, Suite 101
Smyrna, GA 30080
Chapter President and CEO
Program Director and COO