LUPUS FOUNDATION OF JAMAICA
7 Barbados Avenue, Kingston 5, Jamaica, W.I. | (876) 754-8458
email@example.com | www.lupusfoundationjamaica.org
Kingston, Jamaica, May 13, 2023: Lupus Warriors and Friends Make Lupus Visible
Lupus Warriors and Supporters were out in full force on Wednesday May 10, 2023, as Lupus Foundation of
Jamaica joined in with Lupus advocacy groups around the world for the twentieth annual observance of
World Lupus Day. The observance is designed to call attention to and increase support for persons with Lupus
in Jamaica and throughout the world.
Jamaica is said to have one of the highest rates worldwide of Lupus, a serious autoimmune disorder in which
the body’s immune system becomes dysfunctional, attacking healthy tissues and causing damage to various
organs of the body. The lifelong disorder affects women predominantly and is most commonly diagnosed
between ages 15 and 44 years.
The theme for this year's observance was Make Lupus Visible. The campaign leading up to the day included
television and radio interviews featuring medical experts and Lupus survivors (termed “Lupus Warriors”),
displays at clinics, schools and business places, as well as distribution of purple ribbons and merchandise,
with the public being encouraged to wear purple on May 10 in solidarity with persons living with Lupus. In
addition, members of the Foundation organised walks (dubbed Strides for Lupus) and other activities in
various locations across the island with images and recordings uploaded to Social Media pages. World Lupus
Day activities in Jamaica received endorsement by prominent figures including reigning Miss Jamaica World
Shanique Singh. Media personalities in the print and electronic media also gave their support to the
observance of the day.
The key event was a free Health Fair held at Emancipation Park on May 10, where attendees were treated to
lupus warriors showcasing their talent in poetry, craft as well as performance. Performers included Emily
Ruth who presented a vocal and Cello piece “The Prayer” and Kiana Jackson, presenting her dub poem “Lupus
Warrior”. Ms Jackson, a third-year student at Edna Manley College of the Visual Arts, diagnosed with lupus
at age seventeen, commented on the significance of the day for her. “Being able to attend an event, for
lupus, put on by lupus warriors and supporters makes me feel proud. Proud of the strides our community has
been able to make regardless of our circumstances. The space also feels like home, and so there is a sense of
belonging. It is a space where we are empowered and also united for the cause of spreading awareness. In
making Lupus Visible as the theme suggests, we make our voices heard and we tell our stories to teach the
world about Lupus - and through this we are seen, recognized and saluted for our strides as warriors.”
A Live Broadcast by Riddim FM, hosted by Vernon Derby on his new show Spot On, kept listeners fully
involved with interviews and conversations with health professionals, Lupus Warriors and volunteers.
Patrons also enjoyed free health checks including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar measurements,
courtesy of National Health Fund, and delivered by staff from Heart Foundation of Jamaica. Jamaica
Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics, lead by president Dr Vanessa White-Barrow, provided
free personalised consultations and nutritional counselling. Other Professional Associations participating
included Jamaica Psychiatric Association with Dr Kraig Radlein and staff from Community Mental Health who
interacted with patrons and gave health talks. Past Presidents of the Foundation, Dr Karel De Ceulaer, Dr
Stacy Davis and Dr Desiree Tulloch-Reid and other board members and volunteers also interacted with
attendees, many of whom signed up as members and volunteers. Dr Tulloch-Reid expressed gratitude to
“sponsors such as Fosrich Group, National Health Fund, Grace Foods and Cesco Ltd and to all those who took
time or donated to support the event and other activities.”
With a access to care for Lupus being the special focus of this year’s campaign, the Medical/Health Care.
Community also turned out in strong support of the occasion and the efforts of the Foundation. In addressing
the gathering Dr Brian James, President of Medical Association of Jamaica, highlighted the importance of
education, early detection, appropriate management, and follow-up to prevent or minimize complications
and secure good outcomes. “Greater knowledge of lupus can help save lives by promoting earlier diagnosis
and treatment, reducing stigma, and increasing support for those affected.”
Dr Karen Phillips, President of Association of Consultant Physicians of Jamaica and Mr Orville Johnson,
Chairman of Jamaica Medical Foundation each presented donations towards the Foundation’s work.
A symbolic Balloon release by lupus warriors, health professionals and other supporters was a symbolic
moment in a special Opening ceremony that marked the progress as well as aspirations for a brighter future
for Lupus warriors.