Walk a block for lupus May 1
The 9th Annual Walk a Block for Lupus is Lupus Canada’s most important fundraising and public awareness event. It has grown from a small walk eight years ago to hundreds of walks across Canada in 2010. The Walk a Block is celebrated each year in Grand Forks, says organizer Shawna Schuh, and will be taking place again next week.
Walk a Block occurs in communities right across the country and it serves as a chance for patients, families and friends to come together to raise money while walking in support of lupus. Anyone can attend as a participant, donate online with a credit card or in person by cash or cheque. Any amount is appreciated! In order to receive a tax receipt a minimum donation of $20.00 is required.
Lupus is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation in one or more parts of the body. It belongs in the family of autoimmune diseases that includes rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes and scleroderma. It is estimated that lupus affects tens of thousands of people in Canada.
It is a complex condition that can affect any tissue or organ of the body, including skin, muscles, joints, blood and blood vessels, lungs, heart, kidneys and the brain. A few individuals develop drug-induced lupus as a response to some medication used to treat other conditions. These symptoms disappear when the person stops taking the medication. Anyone can get lupus, women, men and children.
Between the ages of 15 and 45, eight times more women than men are diagnosed with lupus. In those under 15 and over 45, both sexes are affected equally. The cause remains unkown. In lupus, the immune system (the body’s defense against viruses and bacteria) is unable to tell the difference between intruders and the body’s own tissues. This can result in the immune system targeting parts of the body, causing inflammation and creating the symptoms of lupus.
A person with Lupus may experience some of the following symptoms: joint pain, red rash across the upper cheeks and bridge of nose, extreme fatigue, an unusual reaction to sunlight, swelling of feet and legs, cognitive issues (overwhelmed with stress, confusion, memory).
To see some photos of last years walk, or walks happening across Canada, check out www.walkablock.ca. You might recognize some local faces with a red wall in the background!