The Hawai‘i Lupus Foundation (HLF) is
holding its first-ever charity walk on October 9 to promote
educating Hawai‘i’s youth during National Lupus
Awareness Month. The event will include free goodie bags, refreshments,
and musical entertainment by local music group Epic Session
and local solo guitarist Jon Yamasato.
“Shine a Light on Lupus” is the foundation’s
key event during October. As part of its 30th anniversary in
Hawai‘i, HLF’s goal for the walk is to inform community
members so that they become part of a “Lupus Literate
Hawai‘i” by raising funds to support educational
lupus youth programs.
“Since lupus is such a difficult disease to diagnose, it is so important
to educate people and raise the level of awareness of lupus,” said HLF
Board President Edmund Kajiyama. “Together, we will not only create awareness,
but we will ultimately find the cure for lupus.”
Lupus is a chronic disease that causes the body’s immune system to form
antibodies that attack healthy tissues and organs.
A lupus diagnosis often requires a patient to go through several
tests and evaluations of his or her symptoms and medical
history, and it often takes
lupus has symptoms that mimic other diseases:
A butterfly rash that covers the cheek and nose area
Low-grade fever and chills
Joint and muscle pain
Sensitivity to light
There is no cure for lupus, so early detection and treatment is vital to preventing
lupus’ often debilitative and sometimes deadly consequences,” Kajiyama
The three forms of lupus are discoid lupus, systemic lupus
erythematosus, and drug-induced lupus.
Discoid lupus is limited to rashes that often appear on the face, neck,
Systemic lupus is usually the more severe form of lupus. It
causes inflammation in organs, joints, and tissues, which
can lead to organ failure or death.
Drug-induced lupus occurs after the use of certain prescribed
drugs. Drugs commonly connected with drug-induced lupus include
high blood pressure
or irregular heart
HLF estimates that approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people in
.07 percent of the population, have lupus. The disease primarily affects women
ages 15 to 45, although men and children can also have lupus. It is found more
often in people with Asian, African, Hispanic, or Polynesian ethnicities.
Because Hawai‘i is such a unique place with a tremendous amount of ethnic
and cultural mixture,” said HLF Executive Director Sharleen Oshiro, “the
number of people in Hawai‘i with lupus is slightly higher than the national
Nationally, one out of 185 people have lupus. It attacks more people than multiple
sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, and leukemia, combined,” Oshiro
According to U.S. Census records, Hawai‘i’s population is estimated
at 1.3 million people—that means one out of every 130 people in Hawai‘i
Oshiro said it’s important to educate the community about lupus, especially
the youth, because members and volunteers can only do so much in helping to spread
the word. Having more youth programs will enable more voices to be heard, and
create a larger member base.
Oshiro also said the foundation is always looking for more
members and encourages volunteers to come in and help in
whatever way fits
schedules and interests.
With a new improved Web site being constructed, HLF will be
able to reach even more potential volunteers or members and
Donations are greatly appreciated too,” Oshiro added. “More research
can be done with more funding, so a cure can eventually be found, and it also
helps keep our support groups running.”
Anyone interested in taking
part in the “Shine a Light on Lupus” walk
should visit www.lupuswalkhawaii.org, or call the Hawai‘i Lupus Foundation
at 538-1522. The walk starts at 6 p.m. from Ala Moana Beach Park’s