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Jamaican Lupus Warriors Celebrities, Government, Doctors and Media join up to Make Lupus Visible on World Lupus Day

Kingston, Jamaica, May 13, 2022:  On May 10, 2022, Lupus Foundation of Jamaica joined in with Lupus advocacy groups around the world in the nineteenth annual observance of World Lupus Day, in an effort to call attention to and increase support for persons with Lupus in Jamaica.

The Jamaica campaign, dubbed LUPUS LEVEL UP: Make Lupus Visible, leading up to the day consisted of a Social Media campaign, 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 those affected.  In addition, members of the Foundation organised walks (dubbed Make Strides for Lupus) and other activities in various locations across the island with images and recordings uploaded to Social Media pages.

The key event was a free mini- Health Fair held at Emancipation Park on May 10, where State Minister in Ministry of Health & Wellness, Juliette Cuthbert Flynn, and reigning Miss Jamaica World Khalia Hall participated in the Opening Ceremony hosted by radio personality Mr Shannon-Dale Reid.  Other participants included President Elect of Medical Association of Jamaica Dr Leslie Meade and Board Members of Lupus Foundation of Jamaica.  Loiette Donegan and Audrey Malcolm, members of the Foundation living with Lupus, respectively said a prayer and shared a poem “My Lupus Strides” prepared for the occasion.  Both participated with the Minister and the Beauty Queen in a symbolic release of purple balloons.

President Dr Desiree Tulloch-Reid expressed gratitude to all those who took time to support the event and other activities. “It is heart-warming to see the outpouring of support being shown by the Government, personalities like Miss Jamaica World, the Medical Community, lupus warriors, volunteers, media and supporters by their presence with us today…It is our hope that greater understanding and continued support promoted by occasions like these will indeed save lives and improve outcomes.”

State Minister Flynn, in officially opening the event, commended the Foundation for it’s efforts. “The work of advocacy plays a vital role in ensuring that systems are in place to give support – connecting those affected with information and care to better their outcomes. I wish to commend the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica for its on-the-ground work in building a community of care for those affected by Lupus.”

Miss Jamaica World Khalia Hall spent quite some time interacting with Lupus Warriors, volunteers and Medical Professionals at the Event where she was seen graciously accommodating photo opportunities and conversations.  She commented, “I have a close family friend with an autoimmune disease and though it is not lupus, I've seen how severely it can impact someone's health and personal life. There definitely isn't enough public awareness around lupus and so I feel grateful to be able to use my platform as Miss Jamaica World to help the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica to raise awareness around this debilitating disease.” 

Attendees received free health checks including blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol checks, courtesy of National Health Fund with support of staff of Diabetes Association. Other Organisations participating in the Health Fair included Medical Professional associations like Jamaica Physiotherapy Association, Dermatology Association of Jamaica and Jamaica Kidney Kids who made presentations to attendees.  Mandeville Regional Pathology unit were strongly represented including their head Dr Racquel Lowe-Jones, a board member and one of the Organisers of the event.  She was accompanied by Dr Vitilius Holder of the Southern Regional Health Authority who treated attendees to an interactive Hula Hoop session that ended the day on a positive note.

For those unable to be present, 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. Sponsors of the event included Seaboard Jamaica, Guardian Group Foundation and National Health Fund.

END

About the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica (LFJ)

Lupus Foundation of Jamaica is a member-based, volunteer-run charitable Organisation in operation since 1984 that seeks to improve the lives and outcomes of persons affected by lupus through information, support, advocacy and research.  The Foundation is seeking support through donations and volunteers to maintain an increasing demand for support services by persons impacted by lupus.  For assistance or to learn more about what the Foundation is doing, visit www.lupusfoundationjamaica.org


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  • 11 May 2016 9:56 AM | Anonymous

    The Jamaica Gleaner, May 11, 2016 - In observance of World Lupus Day yesterday, the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica (LFJ) opened new offices. This is the first time that an office and learning centre of this nature will be made available to serve the needs of persons living with lupus, as well as the general public.

    World Lupus Day is about bringing further awareness to the plight of persons living with the disease, noted Dr Stacy Davis, president of the LFJ, "and we at LFJ also join the rest of the world with one voice in championing the cause for persons living with lupus".

    She continued, "There is no boundary to the impact of lupus. Lupus is a global health problem that affects people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders and ages. Lupus can affect any part of the body in any way at any time, often with unpredictable and life-changing results. While lupus knows no boundaries, knowing all you can about lupus can help control its impact."

    Davis said the opening of LFJ's new centre was a significant milestone for persons living with lupus.

    "This was an important goal for the foundation that has been in gestation for more than 30 years. Now finally patients, their families and any one affected can come in and learn more about the disease and treatment options," she said.

    The Lupus Foundation of Jamaica office is located at 7 Barbados Avenue, New Kingston, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Learning Centre is open from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

    WHAT IS LUPUS?

    Systemic lupus erythematosus, or simply lupus, is a disorder of the immune system and one of the least known major diseases. It is a chronic (lifelong) disorder of the immune system that results in abnormal inflammation of tissues almost anywhere in the body, including skin, joints, kidneys, blood, lungs, heart and brain.

    Common symptoms of lupus include fatigue (tiredness), rashes on the face and body, hair loss, joint pain or swelling of the legs. But lupus can be extremely variable in its severity and manifestations, and may produce different signs and symptoms in different persons; some persons are only mildly affected, while others can feel very ill or suffer life-threatening or disabling complications. Even for one person, symptoms may vary at different times in their lives, and there may be periods of increased or severe symptoms known as flares.

    Lupus most commonly first affects young women at the prime of their lives, 20s and 30s, when they may be starting careers or have young families; however, all ages, including children and men, can be affected as well.

    WHAT CAUSES LUPUS,

    AND CAN IT BE TREATED?

    The cause of lupus is not fully understood, but genes as well as environmental factors may both play a role. It is not cancer and it is not contagious. There is no definite way to avoid getting lupus or to predict whether you will get it, but by being aware you can recognise symptoms quickly and be diagnosed and treated early, which can make a big difference.

    Although there is no a cure for lupus, knowledge and understanding of the disease is greater than ever before; and treatments now exist that can be very effective in keeping the disease under control, allowing persons with lupus to live longer and better than ever. In addition, for someone who has lupus, good understanding of their condition, adequate support and expert care and monitoring go a long way to improve outcomes and quality of life.

    (Link to Original Article

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