By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
Throngs of people came out for the second annual Lupus Awareness Luncheon on Saturday, May 20. The Scott Park Banquet Hall was filled to capacity with people who are living with lupus, family members of those diagnosed with lupus and community supporters of this cause. The luncheon was organized by two sisters, Felicia Howard and Victoria White, in honor of their sister Reeshemah Adams, who passed in 2018 of the disease.
“We’re giving this event in honor of our sister. We honor her today. The proceeds will be donated to the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter. We want to raise awareness in the community,” said Felicia Howard.
“Thank you for joining us for the second annual Lupus Awareness luncheon. It’s good to be among so many people who want to learn more about Lupus. I’m happy to see so many supporters, some new supporters and returning supporters as we celebrate my sister,” said Victoria White.
Purple and white decorations welcomed guests as they wore purple ribbons, which is worn in promotion of lupus awareness. May is Lupus Awareness Month, according to the sisters and the Lupus Foundation of America. The awareness goal to rally the community to raise funds for the cause, awareness about the symptoms and awareness for those who live or died from Lupus.
Lupus is a chronic, also known as a long-term, disease that causes inflammation and pain in many parts of the body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attach healthy tissue instead of fighting infections. In order to raise awareness, the luncheon included panelists who spoke about mental and physical health, dietary needs and restrictions, dermatology and a testimony from a Lupus Warrior named Valaje Hester.
Panelists included: Dr. Bashar Kahaleh, MD; Dr. Nezam Altorok, MD; Erika D.White; Nadea Minet; Shay Bankston; Nicole Bergman, PA and Dr. Joanne.
“We believe that healing occurs within the entire family, not just the individual. I look forward to sharing more with you today,” said Bankston.
“I was misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, then eventually was diagnosed with lupus. It was a rollercoaster because I had to call off work and dealt with kidney function issues,” shared Hester.
“In simple terms, lupus will impact your body. Whether your misdiagnosed or diagnosed later in your journey, you’ll have to learn how to adapt to medication and your lifestyle. I encourage you to engage with these professionals and doctors up here and get involved with trials if you are asked. We need to show up for these trials because research is based off white males,” noted White.
Reeshemah Adams, the event honoree, was born in 1978 was misdiagnosed at age of 18, received the correct diagnosis at age 30 and passed away in 2018. Her sister spoke about how Adams had to deal with many of the symptoms, including her skin and kidney.
“This hits us harder that other groups of people and unfortunately it mimics other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The earlier you receive a correct diagnoses the earlier you’ll receive help because this is a life changing disease,” shared Howard.
The luncheon was also supported by Rosalyn Welch, who provided decorations, catering by Allen and his mom, JuicyFruit Creations LLC. It was also supported by these sponsors: The Movement, State Farm Insurance agent Sara Ross, Studio Three Two Nine, The House of Day Funeral Services, Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, UChange, Quality Time Child Care Center and many others.
For additional information about Lupus, visit the Lupus Foundation of America Greater Ohio chapter website or the Lupus Foundation of America national website https://lupusgreaterohio.org/ or https://www.lupus.org/