Cove holds first Walk For Lupus event
Tue, 2016-04-26 08:03 News Staff
By PAMELA GRANT
Team J. Lyons, Central Texas STARZZ, and the Copperas Cove High School Excel Club helped host Copperas Cove’s first Walk For Lupus, a 1.5K walk event through South Park.
Event hosts estimated that between 50 and 75 people participated in the event which served as a benefit fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation of America - Lone Star Chapter. The walk began at 9 a.m. but late-comers were still able to participate. Event host Dorothy Lyons said that 90% of the money raised at Saturday’s event will stay in the Texas branch of the foundation. That money will go towards lupus research and education programs as well as increasing awareness and public support.
“We’re praying that someday, someone will find a cure, because this is a very painful disease—very debilitating,” said Lyons, whose daughter, Jasmin Lyons, was diagnosed with lupus as a CCHS sophomore. Jasmin is now a junior in college.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that it is not curable, but with good medicinal care, most people with lupus can lead a full life. People with lupus suffer what they call flares, or times when the disease gets worse, and remissions, when they feel better. Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening. Women of color are most likely to develop lupus, but people of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.
Joyce Dukes, Support Group Facilitator for the Central Texas Lupus Support Group, talked about her life with lupus. Everyone with the disease has different symptoms. Examples include hair loss, pain, rashes, kidney disease, and more. She said that it’s rough on the individual and rough on the families as well.
“We have our moments,” said Dukes. “Some days you wake up, and you have tons of energy. Then you take a shower, and you’re done for the day. It comes out of nowhere—the chronic pain and fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea…”
Dukes was diagnosed with lupus in 2003, and said it took about 10 years to be diagnosed. Dukes talked about lupus flare-ups, saying they can last anywhere from a couple of days to several months in duration. She said some days she can’t do anything but lie in bed and cry.
Christian Schaefer was one of several who ran the Walk For Lupus. He was the first to finish. Schaefer and several friends and family members participated in the walk in honor of Liz Borland who passed away from lupus.
“This means a lot to me, actually. My mom put up a picture last night of Liz...I cried right before I came here. It brought up some old memories. I hadn’t seen her face in a long time,” said Schaefer. “It means a lot to me to be here with my friends and family to run an event that’s very close to us.”
At the event, Elise Kea, author of Why Not Me?, talked about her life after she was diagnosed with lupus and with Guillain-Barre syndrome. The book covers the six-month time span during which Kea found out about her diagnosis.
Kea was diagnosed with lupus in March 2013. Shortly after, she had a kidney biopsy. One day in July, her legs gave out on her and she admitted herself to the hospital. The next day she lost half of the movement in her legs. Kea’s symptoms progressed until she was paralyzed from the waist down, and later from the shoulders down. Fortunately for her, it was a temporary paralysis caused by the Guillain-Barre and she was able to recover. Despite everything that Kea has gone through, she still plays basketball and teaches 4th grade in Killeen.
“When I was in the hospital, my brother said to me, ‘You know this is not the worst thing that’s going to happen to you.’ That really taught me that I’ve got to keep fighting,” said Kea. “The best thing you can do is not feel sorry for yourself…Just stay strong. If you make it through the night, tomorrow will be a brighter day.”
Jasmin Lyons offered some advice to fellow lupus sufferers, “Keep fighting. Keep pushing through. God has a plan. He gives his toughest tasks to his strongest soldiers.”