Kingston, Jamaica- October 9, 2020- Iana Tickle Garcia, the reigning Miss Jamaica Universe, is on a drive to promote lupus awareness in Jamaica. Iana along with friends Umeko Chin and Terina Dryden, fellow contestants from the 2019 Miss Jamaica Universe competition, have re-united around a common cause – Lupus Awareness.
On Thursday, October 8, the three friends paid an early morning visit to Lupus Foundation of Jamaica (LFJ) Learning Centre where they donned branded T-shirts with awareness and inspirational messages and posed for pictures to promote sales of items in support of the Foundation's Fundraising efforts.
Iana became involved with the Lupus Awareness cause through her friendship with Umeko Chin, a Lupus advocate and survivor who advanced to the finals of the 2019 Miss Jamaica Universe Pageant.
“Over the course of the Pageant, she educated all of us about her disease, what she goes through, and slowly but surely she introduced all of us to the Lupus Foundation.” Tickle Garcia said.
Jamaica is believed to have one of the highest rates of Lupus worldwide with an estimated 6000 Jamaicans affected.
Members of the public are also being encouraged to Put On Purple on Fridaysfor the month of October and collect posters and informational material for local displays. Visit the LFJ websiteor contact their office at 876-754-8458, for further information, to purchase merchandise, register for an event, join, donate or volunteer.
“…after the pageant, I decided that I want to become more involved to help her and her efforts… because I believe in what they (LPJ) are doing. I realise that it is not something that many are aware of, especially how it affects us… and I always wanted to be a part of that, and help my friend.”
Umeko, a 23 year old Tourism major, who now sits on the Board of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica and has helped with planning of the Lupus Awareness Campaign, called on her friends to help model branded LPJ merchandise commissioned by the Foundation to raise awareness and raise funds for the cause.
The shirts, sporting captions such as "Born To Be Awesome", "I Can I will" and "I Am Stronger Than I Feel" were designed by Lot60 Apparel's Randy Fagan. Branded facemasks and wrist bands were also designed for the effort. Lot60 designs were sponsors of Umeko during her participation as a finalist in the 2019 Miss Jamaica Universe.
Lupus is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by a dysfunctional immune system that attacks healthy organs and tissues causing damage. The disease typically starts young, with an average age of onset of 22, and is lifelong, with women affected 9 times more than men. Symptoms can include fatigue or weakness, joint pains, severe skin rashes, hair loss and even organ disease particularly the kidneys, as well as heart, lung, brain or nervous system.
Activities being promoted during the 2020 campaign include sale of branded merchandise (T-shirts, masks, bands), Laps for Lupus Awareness/Laps Your Waycampaign, a Virtual Event on Oct 11 - 18 and a free virtual Lupus Symposium on November 1, 2020.
About the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica (LPJ)
Lupus Foundation of Jamaica is a member-based, volunteer run charity established in 1984 and dedicated to improving the lives and outcomes of persons affected by lupus through information, support, advocacy and promoting research in the field. The Organisation, (as with other similar groups in the Commonwealth), observes October as Lupus Awareness Month, a time when the Foundation ramps up its efforts to sensitise and educate Jamaicans about this disease in an effort to ensure persons affected receive early diagnosis and access to effective treatment and support.
We are located at 7 Barbados Avenue, Kingston 5