As we reflect on the year, there is much to be thankful for, especially for those with lupus. A new treatment, a new global research initiative, new educational opportunities for Lupus LA clients, and new faces at Lupus LA, have all made 2011 a momentous year of progress. With all these changes in place, the prospects for 2012 are nothing short of amazing.
Starting with the new faces, I include myself having joined the Lupus LA team in September as Executive Director. In these few months, I have been amazed at the dedication and perseverance of the staff, Executive Council and legion of supporters, without whom the achievements of Lupus LA would not be possible. I have also been deeply touched by the determination and courage of the thousands of lupus patients we serve as they battle this serious disease. Preceding me by just one month is Gabriela Trejo, our new Outreach Coordinator. Gabby heads up our new satellite office in Pico/Union at the Clinica Oscar Romero Community Center, where she brings our services to underserved populations in the Latino community. Jaimie Minella joined Lupus LA in February and does an amazing job coordinating all our fundraising events. In her spare time, she also runs the office!
One thing lupus patients have been waiting for – for decades – is a new, less toxic treatment. Earlier this year, BENLYSTA® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults with active systemic lupus. This is the first new treatment approved for lupus in more than 50 years! While it is not a cure, and not for everyone, many clients of Lupus LA have now started on their new regimens, and the sense of hope is palpable. And Benlysta is just the beginning. Over a dozen new drugs are in clinical trials. In just a few years, lupus treatment options could expand dramatically, ushering in a new era of improved health for lupus patients.
But much more remains to be done. Research has a long way to go to fully unlock the mysteries of lupus, what triggers it, and finally, how to stop it from happening. The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the renowned research arm of Lupus LA and our affiliate The SLE Lupus Foundation, recently announced a bold global initiative aimed at attracting world class scientists to conduct breakthrough investigations that will transform the field of lupus research. This program was made possible through an $8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Mayor Bloomberg provided a quote for the announcement, noting that he is “confident this investment will help advance efforts to find both the basic causes of this complex disease and the cure.”
New treatments and research aren’t enough. Lupus patients need our help now. That is why Lupus LA was founded by Dr. Daniel J. Wallace in 2000. Recently, Dr. Wallace received the 2011 SLE Lupus Foundation’s Medical Leadership Award for his significant contributions to lupus clinical research. In his acceptance speech, he stated that Lupus LA is leading the way in providing lupus patients throughout Southern California with all the resources they need to fight their disease. Your continued support ensures Dr. Wallace’s wonderful vision will endure for our clients who suffer from lupus, providing support through pediatric workshops and support groups.
WAYS TO HELP
$50 - Provide one hour of community outreach
$100 - Provide one hour of non-clinical peer support
$250 - Provides training for one support group leader
$500 - Provide one emergency grant to a lupus patient in
$1,000 - Send one child to the Rheumatic Diseases Week
summer camp at The Painted Turtle
$2,500 - Send three families to camp at the Painted Turtle
$5,000 - Sponsor a patient education conference reaching
hundreds of lupus patients and their caretakers
Lupus LA’s Director of Patient Services Elyse Reyes coordinates extensive program activities, including monthly adult support groups, pediatric support groups and workshops, patient education conferences, health fairs, and volunteer facilitator trainings, all throughout Southern California – with a staff of just two – herself and Gabby!
Thank you again for your continued support of Lupus LA. We are truly grateful for your generosity. Please take this moment to make your donation online. Together, we can make an even greater difference in the fight against this disease. One day soon, we will all live a life without lupus.