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Local impact of World Lupus Day

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 11:04 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Tuesday is World Lupus Day - designed to raise awareness and attention to the auto-immune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans, but is often misunderstood or overlooked.

In Savannah, Mayor Van Johnson signed a proclamation recognizing Lupus patients in our community.

It is also a bigger day than most years for Salathiel Deloach, who was diagnosed with Lupus 20 years ago, and after a decade of working to raise awareness, she started the Deloach Lupus Foundation two months ago.

Deloach will use the organization to help local Lupus patients with costs associated with treatment such as prescriptions and transportation to appointments.

“With an auto-immune disease, it can affect all parts of your body, starting with your skin. In addition to your skin, it can affect your organs, it could affect your brain. Lupus is an unseen disease, people can look at you and not tell that a person has been diagnosed with Lupus. Lupus is not contagious, so you cannot catch Lupus from any one of us. As a Lupus patient or as a family of Lupus patients, we recognize that there are some unmet needs that the patients deal with on a day-to-day basis. And so, we are hopeful to meet those unmet needs and to bring the community together and help the community recognize that we do exist here in the city of Savannah and we need their help just like every other foundation does,” DeLoach said.

The Deloach Lupus Foundation will hold its first official fundraiser this Saturday - the Lace Up for Lupus Awareness Walk at Lake Mayer.

Salathiel is one of five members of her family that have been diagnosed with Lupus. She has held informal walks with other patients in the past but now is hoping to grow the event and its impact in her hometown by inviting people to join in on Saturday.

“In the city of Savannah, Lupus is not very well known. And so, one of those reasons that we wanted to begin the foundation was because we feel like we live in this community and the community should have a greater awareness of the disease. I’m very excited for this event to take place and we’re just looking forward to becoming one within the community. We’re asking the community to Loop Us In.”

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