Locals walk to raise lupus awareness
By PAMELA GRANT
Team JLyons held its 3rd Annual 5k Run/Walk for Lupus Awareness Saturday morning at Ogletree Gap. The event started at 8 a.m. with the 5K run starting at 9 a.m. and the 1.5K walk starting shortly after. Angel from Crunch Fitness warmed up runners/walkers before the run/walk. Entertainment included various activities for kids, a DJ, a K9 dog demonstration, martial arts demonstration, and a car show. Towards the end of the event, they included time for testimonials from those living with Lupus.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body to include skin, joints, and/or organs. With good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life; however, people with lupus will still have days with flares, or bad days wherein the disease gets worse, and remissions, or days when the disease gets better.
Joyce Dukes, facilitator for the Central Texas Lupus Group, attended the event to show her support for the cause. She was not able to run as her foot was in a boot, but she handed out pages and packets of information and helped those in attendance to learn more about what exactly lupus is.
Dukes was diagnosed with lupus in 2003 but said that it took doctors about ten years to diagnose her.
Lupus is considered to be an invisible illness because the condition is not outwardly visible. Dukes said that having lupus can cause you to lose your independence. She said that she has to push herself, and that some days it feels like she’s been dragged by a truck down the highway. She said that even attending Saturday’s event was a challenge for her, but it was worth it because she was able to help spread awareness.
“People should spread awareness, and not judge a book by its cover,” said Dukes.
Jasmin Lyons (24), the J behind team JLyons, said that she was excited to see so many people participating and showing support for Saturday’s event. She said that Saturday’s event is all about raising the awareness about lupus and getting the community involved.
“It’s not just about the people who have lupus, it’s about our supporters. Look at all these people who came out. Complete strangers and now we’re just one big community here supporting one big cause,” said Lyons gesturing at all the people in attendance.
Lyons said that she recently hit her nine-year mark for living with lupus and said that it’s been very hard. She said one day you can wake up at the top of your game and wake up the next day feeling like you need to be hospitalized. However, she added that having her team and seeing all the support for both herself and others going through the same thing has boosted her confidence tremendously.
“It was good. I work out a lot, but just being around people made it 10 times better,” said Lyons after completing the 1.5K walk. “It’s a great feeling to see all the support. Without our supporters, sometimes we feel like we’re nothing when we really are something, but our supporters really help us and bring out the best in us.”
She said she’d like to encourage all of those going through similar situations to never give up and to always strive for better and to never feel like no one cares.