Students and Staff cover Walk to End Lupus Now

Last month was Lupus Awareness Month. Every May is actually. I had the honor of MC’ing the annual “WALK TO END LUPUS NOW” event here in Charlotte.

It took place to help make a difference by raising funds for research and local support. Hundreds of families and individuals came out in full force to support CHARLOTTE’S LARGEST EVENT FOR THE LUPUS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA.

You’ve probably heard of Lupus, but don’t really know what it is. You’re not alone. Few Americans do. Lupus is a devastating and unpredictable autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body and can be fatal. Recently it’s become a fixture in my life as one of my loved ones has been diagnosed and battling over the last year and a half.

Lupus ravages different parts of the body and can be fatal. 90% of those affected are women, and women-of-color are 2-3 times more likely to get Lupus. Just in North Carolina alone there are 45,000 people living with Lupus and its devastating effects.

BIG shout out to my friends and students at the Carolina School of Broadcasting for graciously sending Yolanda Gilmore and Andrea Sturdivant, a couple of their talented, aspiring digital media journalists to cover the event.

Know More. #kNOwLUPUS. Learn more at or

January 2015 Student, Yolanda Gilmore tells us about her experience with the Lupus Walk:

Today I had an amazing time attending the Lupus Walk event along with two of my instructors. I can truly say that if asked again, I would do it all over again. My aunt has lupus but I never really understood the disease. I did not know that it was a disease that has your body fighting against itself and that some people don’t win.

I also didn’t know that there are three types of lupus:

  1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) which is the most common form of lupus and considered the most serious of the three.
  2. Disciod (cutaneous) which causes a rash on the skin that looks like a butterfly, normally spreading from one cheek over the nose and to the other
  3. Neonatal Lupus which affects the unborn child of a mother who has lupus. It is rare and it can cause the baby to experience anemia, skin rash, and liver problems. Normally the symptoms last only a few months then go away without causing permanent damage.

Previous to the event, I didn’t know any of this information. When my mom would say, “your aunt was in the hospital because of her lupus”, I just brushed it off as if my aunt had a cold. I was not aware how serious lupus is. Now I understand why my mom whole demeanor would change. My mom knew that her sister might not make it.

As I spoke with people and asked them who they were walking for, I realized I should be walking for my aunt, Roberta Johnson. She has SLE and now when I see her, I have a whole new respect for her. Even on the days when she’s hurting, she still keeps smiling.

So thank you to Nathan Richie, Chris Tyndell, and Lupus Walk for helping me to understand the disease. Knowledge is power and more people need to be informed about it.

Yolanda Gilmore

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