From the Archives: Fall 2007 Issue of Lupus Now
Circle of Hope: Remembering David Lytle
David Lytle, 39, of Litchfield Township, Ohio, passed away suddenly on June 16, 2007. David was not only a friend of the Lupus Foundation of America, but also a devoted advocate and supporter of all people with lupus. Although we knew David for only a short time, he made a tremendous impact, inspiring a campaign that generated more than a quarter-million dollars for lupus research and education, and which is still growing.
David was a quadriplegic because of severe injuries sustained in a car crash in his 20s. However, he did not let his injuries stop him from living a fulfilling life. He had a rewarding career as a supervisor at Sterling Jewelers, Inc., and friends and relatives described him as handsome, bright, humorous, friendly, compassionate, and an inspiration to everyone he met.
While in college, David met Kassie McMullin and they became the closest of friends. Kassie became David’s caretaker and helped him almost daily. Kassie was diagnosed with lupus at age 10, and she and David shared many physical challenges, as well. Like David, Kassie was committed to living every day to its fullest.
Kassie eventually married and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Mikey. Tragically, 10 months after giving birth, Kassie suddenly passed away from complications of lupus. She was 31.
In Kassie’s memory, David dedicated himself to finding a cure for lupus. So in 2005, when NBC’s Today show invited viewers to nominate a nonprofit organization to benefit from the show’s annual green room celebrity autograph-book auction, David submitted Kassie’s story, telling of her struggle with lupus, as well as her optimism and courage. He nominated LFA to be the benefactor.
The story touched the hearts of the Today show cast, and crew, and LFA was selected to receive the proceeds from the annual eBay auction. Katie Couric narrated a heartfelt story about Kassie’s life and her dream of finding a cure for lupus. The story inspired people to support the LFA and bid on the autograph book.
As a result of the outpouring of support, the Kassie McMullin Biglow Memorial Research Grant was founded. Others took up the challenge and donated matching gifts. More than $250,000 has been raised for lupus research and education programs, and these efforts continue.
To honor his quest to find the cure for lupus and to continue the funding for Kassie’s research fund, David’s family has designated LFA to receive gifts in his memory. You can make a donation on the LFA Web site at lupus.org and support David’s dream to find a cure for lupus.
David Lytle was a true champion for all people with lupus. He was a hero, and all of us at the Lupus Foundation of America will truly miss him.
To watch the LFA video This Is Lupus, which features Kassie’s father, Joe McMullin, visit: www.lupus.org/newsite/pages/video.html.