Marilyn Honahan and Jan Cirillo have Lupus. Through their efforts to learn how to manage their lives with Lupus, they found others in need of support. They took the initiative with a desire to help others and attended the Lupus Foundation of America Southeast Florida Chapter Support Group Facilitator Training. They formed a Lupus Support Group, which meets the third Saturday of every month at Physician’s Regional Medical Center, Palm Dining Room, at 10:30 AM. Marilyn is also putting a team together to enter “The Walk to End Lupus,” which takes place Feb. 22 at the Mercato in Naples.
Honahan said, “I have Lupus. I am walking to help solve the cruel mystery. Lupus is one of the cruelest, most mysterious diseases on earth. It strikes without warning, has unpredictable, sometimes fatal effects, lasts a lifetime and has no known cause and no known cure. It is more pervasive than people think, and impacts people on a scale that the public does not realize. I’m happy to have people join our team on the walk or start their own team.”
In fact, Lupus is a complex disease that causes inflammation and can damage any organ in the body with life-threatening consequences. Symptoms of Lupus include extreme fatigue, headaches, painful or swollen joints, fever, anemia, butterfly shaped rash across cheeks, photosensitivity, hair loss, abnormal blood clotting and mouth or nose ulcers, but also can mimic symptoms of other illnesses making it difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually made by a careful review of a person’s entire medical history, physical examination and with an analysis of the results obtained in routine laboratory tests and some specialized tests related to immune status.
African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians and Native Americans are two or three times more likely to develop Lupus than Caucasians, but Lupus affects people of all races and ethnicities.
More people have Lupus than one might realize. More than 1.5 million women, men and children of all ages are living with Lupus in the U.S., yet many Americans have either not heard about the disease or know little about it. To fight this lack of awareness and focus more attention on Lupus, The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) launched a multi-city education initiative to fight the lack of awareness about Lupus and engage the public, health care providers and those with the disease to join the fight to end Lupus by raising awareness and funds for research.
To help solve the cruel mystery, the LFA has been sponsoring “Walk to End Lupus Now” events around the country, which help take steps to raise funds for Lupus research and education programs while increasing awareness of Lupus and rallying public support for those who suffer from it.
The walk on Feb. 22 will be at the Mercato in Naples. To either form a team or to join one, go to Walk to End Lupus Now Naples on Facebook or call Marilyn Honahan at 239-398-4800.