2013 walks aim to ‘end lupus now’

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Supporting lupus research: Hundreds of people walk throughout the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, Ind., during the 2012 annual Walk for Lupus Now. There are several 2013 fundraising events planned in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA FILE PHOTO

How You Can Help

Local chapters of The Lupus Foundation of America are organizing fundraising events this year. Visit www.lupus.org to learn more.

March 9

11th Annual Chili Cook-Off: This cook-off contest and tasting event will be from 3 to 6 p.m. at Merrillville High School Cafeteria, 276 E. 68th Place. Phil Potempa will serve as head judge for this 11th annual event.

April 17

End Lupus Now Kickoff Party: 5 to 9 p.m. at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. $20 cover charge includes entertainment, pool tables, and entrance to the 9 p.m. live show on the main stage. Raffle prizes, lupus information, guest speakers and more. Must be 21 years or older; bring government issued identification.

May 18

Northwest Indiana walk: Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S. Court St., in Crown Point. Walk start at 11 a.m.

South suburbs walk: 9 a.m. to noon at Bicentennial Park, 203rd Street at Achilles Avenue, Olympia Fields.

May 19

North suburbs walk: 9 a.m. to noon at Half Day Forest Preserve along Route 21 in Vernon Hills.

July 13

Northwest suburbs walk: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at James “Pate” Philip State Park, 2050 W. Stearns Road, Bartlett.

Aug. 10

Western suburbs walk: 9 a.m. to noon at the Naperville Riverwalk, 600 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville.

Sept. 29

Chicago walk: 8:30 a.m. to noon in Lincoln Park, 1700 N. Stockton Drive, Chicago.

Each year, thousands of people across the country join forces with the Lupus Foundation of America and walk with one unified purpose — to end lupus, a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body.

The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. Although lupus can strike men and women of all ages, 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with the disease are women. Most people develop lupus between the ages of 15 and 44.

The Foundation reports that the average annual direct health care cost of patients with lupus was $12,643 according to a 2008 study. Two of three lupus patients reported a complete or partial loss of their income because they no longer are unable to work full time due to complications of lupus.

The Illinois Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America raised $350,000 through five walks in 2012. Communities in northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana are currently gearing up for this year’s fundraising efforts to raise money for lupus research, increase awareness of lupus, and rally public support for those who suffer from the disease.

For more information on Walk to End Lupus Now events, becoming a sponsor, joining a planning committee, or fundraising, visit www.lupus.org.

— The Lupus Foundation of America