Lafayette LITE Center lights up purple for World Lupus Day

Posted at 9:48 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 23:43:48-04

Lafayette is lighting up for Lupus Awareness Month.

Approximately 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. Of individuals diagnosed with lupus, 90% are women. 80% of people develop lupus between 15 and 45 years of age.

For World Lupus Day, the LITE Center in Lafayette is lit up purple. Organizers say it’s to bring more awareness and visibility of the autoimmune disease.

“It was little known so I had to figure it out on my own,” said Lupus Matters CEO, Monica Elis.

Monica Elis was diagnosed with lupus over 20 years ago. She says, it’s a learning process

“I had to Google a lot and I was living in Tupelo Mississippi so I came back to Georgia and that’s where I got a lot of education because they knew more about it,” said Elis.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in different parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys.

The immune system normally protects the body from viruses, bacteria and other foreign materials.

WIth an autoimmune disease like lupus, the immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues.

“There’s no cure. It affects all the organs and it’s not just African American women, it’s Asian, Caucasian, men, children. Anybody can catch lupus and we’re still looking for a cure,” said 4A Sister Lupus Club PR director, Brenda Andrus.

Which is why both Andrus and Elis are making it their mission to bring awareness and support for others

“We’re still learning. We educate each other by having support groups. We meet once a month and you tell your story, she tells her story that’s how we learn all together we have. We have professionals that come in and be our guest speakers, we learn from them,” said Andrus.

“If you don’t, you can go into a deep depression but when you have supportive people around you it makes it easy,” Elis added.

Lupus Awareness Month continues through the end of May.

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