As many of you know, this year I decided to do more than put on purple for Lupus Awareness month in honor of my mom who passed from the disease. To save time/space, click here to read my story on my mom and lupus.
On May 3rd, I woke up and looked up lupus related events for Chicago, I figured I may as well get active in the lupus community. I tried to get active years back, but the timing wasn't right and many opportunities didn't come through on behalf of the two main lupus foundations in Chicago. I saw there was a walk scheduled for the 31st of the month and I checked my calendar to make sure I'd be in town. I set up my walk page, kinda typed through a few tears as I filled out the "Why I am walking" section of the team page. I designed a couple of quick graphics to help promote the walk and my quest to raise funds. I set my goal rather low, as I've never been a fundraiser- I set it at $500. By the time I went to bed, I had about $375 donated toward my walk.
That next morning, I get a couple of back to back phone calls from numbers I don't know, and sent them to voicemail. I check the phone and it's Joan Pendleton, Senior Walk Manager of the Lupus Foundation of America. I gave her a call back and she spoke about how touching my story was and how quickly I raised funds in a very short period of time, which was about 4-5 hours. As we talked, I told her I really wanted to do more than walk and raise funds. I felt I owed to my mother as well as my cousin and friends who are battling lupus each day. We set up a meeting for the following week to discuss the inaugural Chicago walk and beyond.
The rest is in the photos below...
"Show me who your friends are and I'll show you who you are"
That's the first quote to come to mind when I got home from the walk. I have dope friends who are supportive, thoughtful, reliable, and giving. This wasn't about raising money, recognition, etc. It was about my friends supporting me in honoring my mother's memory by doing something for someone else.
The goal of all of this was, to do as much as I could, with what I had, when I could- for someone else. My mother may be gone, but my hope isn't gone for a cure or a continued quality of life for others.
I've only received one other award in my life, and receiving this lupus warrior medal- as insignificant as it may seem to others, means a lot to me. I'm sure my mother is proud of me, it's the least I could do.
I'm not done, the walk was just the beginning. Lupus awareness is lacking in our communities, and I'm committed. I don't care if you get sick of seeing my face, the word lupus, nor the color purple... The cause speeds on.