May is National Lupus Awareness month The Lupus Foundation hosted a walk to raise funds to find a cure. It was held yesterday, May 3rd, 2014. My mother had lupus for many years before she died. Now I battle the wolf so I was at the walk to help the walkers, walk.
It was a chilly morning down at the South Seaport in downtown Manhattan. Everyone was a buzz preparing for the annual Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus Walk. I believe it was the seventh walk. Joan was directing and assigning jobs to all volunteers and I was one of them. I was given a green tee-shirt and a spot to work. I helped pass out lupus information with Chanel and Vicki. Jackie and her sons were at the next table where walkers were writing on signs to let everyone know why they walk. At my table we were selling the purple wrist bands for a dollar. We sold a box rather quickly. I was curious how much we sold but Vickie and Chanel didn’t want to know.
One of the sponsors Starbucks was giving away free coffee, muffins and Danishes. I had the Dunkin’ Donuts muffin and coffee that was supplied by The Lupus Foundation of America. I knew drinking coffee wasn’t a good idea but it was cold and I wanted to warm up a bit. The other sponsors were Saks Fifth Avenue, Genetech, NBC 4 and Questcor.
There was a sea of purple and green gathering. When the opening ceremony began it was said that almost 6,000 people were in attendance and more than half a million dollars was made to help find a cure for lupus. That was almost thirty thousand more than what was originally pledged on-line.
There was upbeat dancing music, old school, and new flavor music that had everyone in a good mood tapping their feet and dancing. When the program started a young lady sang a heartfelt rendition of the national anthem. There were performances by talented rappers. I was working my table so I couldn’t get the names.
Acknowledgments were given to the top three teams making the highest donations. Team Alex earned $22,588. Team Lev and Bailey made $14,885 and team Erica Purple Diamond made $11,614.
Shortly after the program the 3.1 mile walk began. Late comers continued to arrive, a good thirty to forty-five minutes after the walk started. As the walkers walked those who stayed back were treated to face painting, nail painting and music. There was a large crowded that did the Cha-Cha Slide, The Wobble, The Down South Shuffle and they ended up with I’ll House you the youngster went crazy with this one. It was fun to watch the young folks and old folks of all nationality party together. I even danced while waiting to get my face painted.
The vibe in the atmosphere was inspiring. We all were affected by lupus in some way or another. Some of us have lupus. Others lost someone with lupus or watching someone suffer with lupus. We had sharpies markers on our table so that the walkers could answer the question why I walk? They were writing the name of whom or why they were walking on their tee shirts. One of the directors at Marymount Manhattan College, died recently she had lupus. One of her co-workers and students came to the walk to learn more about lupus so she and the students could understand better. People were genuinely interested and helped themselves to the pamphlets and information we had to share. After all that’s the second reason we were out there. To spread information about lupus, a disease that affects 1.5 million people. An illness that is hard to diagnose so people need to know what the signs are.
The table next to us was from NYU Langone Center for Musculoskeletal Care, they had excellent information about lupus, diet, a list of the ten worst foods and ways to fight inflammation.
I have gone to many lupus events that usually consist of patients and doctors. They are always helpful and hopeful gatherings. But going to this Lupus Walk was heartwarming to see family members rallying to find a cure for their love ones who are afflicted with this unpredictable disease was over whelming. I mean we were smiling, laughing and talking with a quiet understanding that some of us were fighting to live. To see the determination and strength of all the people out there was empowering.
When we were dismissed from out volunteer duty I found a seat to eat my sandwich and relaxed. I watched as people walked away laughing and playing. I also noticed the ones who were limping and had smiles on their lips and pain in their eyes. I was hurting throughout my body but I was determined to go on. I had a good day and worth every ache. I’m thinking about next year. As much fun as it was volunteering, I think next year I’ll wander among the crowd gathering stories to share on my blog. As I look at the pictures I wish I had gather information from these people. I’m shy but I think everyone wanted to share their lupus story. So next year I’ll do
While waiting for my ride to go home I sat on a bench to eat my sandwich when I looked up I noticed I was sitting in front of The Freedom Tower.