Imagine being bothered by sunlight, being covered in a rash, suffering fatigue, mouth sores, kidney and joint problems, as well as experiencing substantial hair loss and the swelling of lymph nodes. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? World Lupus Day was created to help us understand that this seemingly random grab bag of symptoms is actually a debilitating, chronic autoimmune disease suffered by approximately 5 million people worldwide, with 1.5 million of them living in the United States alone.
In short, lupus causes the immune system to become overactive, creating antibodies that attack healthy tissue causing pain, inflammation and damage in a given part of the body. Although lupus can be fatal, there is currently no known cure. Sadly, a large majority of people have little to no idea about lupus, often confusing it with arthritis, a much less serious disease. Many people have no idea lupus even exists until they themselves or somebody they know is diagnosed with it. This is the problem World Lupus Day was created to combat.
History of World Lupus Day
World Lupus Day was created by Lupus Canada in 2004 to raise awareness of this little-known disease that can have devastating effects on sufferers and their families. It was organised by lupus organisations from thirteen countries, who called for their governments to increase funding for research, provide better patient services, increase epidemiological data and raise awareness. Ever since then, the day has been observed in an increasing amount of countries all over the world. A high profile supporter of World Lupus Day is musician and philanthropist Julian Lennon, who is a Global Ambassador. Other celebrities who have made sizable contributions to the Lupus Association of America are Daniel Radcliffe, Lady Gaga and Ian Harding.
How to celebrate World Lupus Day
Lupus Day is associated with the colour purple, and people can show support by wearing purple clothing or buying special wristbands with the phrase ‘Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery’. Of course, you can also go to World Lupus Day’s official website and sign an awareness pledge, meaning you pledge to help the plight of those affected by lupus get more attention from the medical community and politicians. There are very simple ways to do this, such as, for example, changing your Facebook profile picture to the World Lupus Day logo. This may not seem like much, but social media has proven time and time again just how much it can do to help the sick. Just take a look at how much money was raised for ALS last year by people the world over dumping buckets of icy water of their heads. And, of course, there is always the possibility to make a donation to the Alliance for Lupus Research.
Even if you can’t afford to donate too much, don’t worry! In situations as serious as the situations of those afflicted with lupus, every dollar counts. And if you have a bit more spare time and happen to know of someone in your neighborhood who has lupus, you could make a commitment to help this person every now and then with some of the little chores that are perfectly easy for a healthy person to do, but can be extremely tiring and painful for a person suffering from lupus—even helping this person take out their trash of carry their groceries home. Whatever you decide to do on this day, make sure you help make the lives of those with lupus a little bit better.