A local fundraiser brought members of the community together to raise awareness for an auto-immune disease.
“A Walk for Lupus” attracted approximately 400 people Saturday morning to Harmon Field in Wapakoneta to show their support by either walking or running a 5K.
Lupus Foundation of America Michigan and Northwest Ohio Chapter President and CEO Aleta Foust said it is important for everyone to be aware of what lupus is.
“There are 50,000 people in the state of Ohio that have lupus,” Foust said. “There are more people than we know that have lupus”
Foust said the goal of the event was to raise $15,000, and all the proceeds from the event will go toward lupus research, awareness and support.
Foust said that the Lupus Foundation of America, Michigan and Northwest Ohio Chapter is working on developing a fund for lupus patients to help offer support for them.
“Our lupus patients are taking the same medications as cancer patients,” Foust said.
Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease, can affect almost any part of the body, but most frequently the skin, joints, blood and kidneys. Systemic lupus leads to inflammation, including periods when the disease becomes active and flares up. A few of the symptoms of lupus include achy joints, fever, swollen joints, extreme fatigue and skin rashes.
Three lupus survivors attended the walk on Saturday, and many local supporters come out to show their support for the lupus survivors, and to raise awareness for the disease.
Carlie and Kailey Schneider, who are sisters, came out to support their friend, Ali Wayman, who battles lupus.
“Ali goes to our church, and we have been good family friends,” Carlie Schneider said. “We’ve always been watching out for her.”
The sisters said it is very important that if someone has a symptom of lupus that they not hesitate to go see a physician.
“It’s important to learn about lupus, and we came to show our support,” Kailey Schneider said. “Ali knows how many people support her, but it’s great to have all the people in place showing their support.”
The sisters said that Ali is an awesome dancer, and an amazing girl with a big heart.
Friends Kelly Wells and Nicole King, who are members of the Wapakoneta High School cross country team, came out to show their support on Saturday by running for the cause.
This was both Wells’s and King’s first time participating in the Walk for Lupus, and they enjoy running locally to support fundraisers.
“It is important to help out,” King said.
Ali Wayman’s mother, and chair of the event, Cheryl Wayman said that there was a great turnout on Saturday.
“It’s quite a good turnout, and this is the first year it was held in Wapakoneta,” Wayman said.
This was also the first year for the 5K run, and Wayman said this will be made an annual event in Wapakoneta.
The event held on Saturday morning had door prizes and raffle prizes. Aaron Bump and his band from Harvest Baptist Church, provided the musical entertainment, and Dr. Susan Kaufman, a physician at Lincoln Family Practice, held a special, “Talk to the Doc” hour.
Miss Ohio Outstanding Teen Kelsey Barrett, of Wapakoneta, kicked off the event by singing the national anthem and signed autographs.
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Barrett said at the event. “If I wasn’t signing autographs, I would be running in it.”
Barrett said it is important to raise awareness and support for lupus.
“It is amazing that they can do this in our community,” Barrett said. “It’s very important that everyone knows about lupus.”