ATLANTA — “You go to the doctor expecting him to say that you have a cold and for them to prescribe some antibiotics but your heart drops when you hear the words auto-immune virus,” said Adam Goldberg. Adam Goldberg and his family have been a victims for many years of incurable disease called lupus. “Lupus is a virus that attacks your immune system because your body cannot tell the difference between harmful viruses and healthy tissues,”Goldberg said. “Its why we are here today to walk for a cure.”
Hundreds of others gathered in Atlanta early Saturday morning to join Adam Goldberg at the 10th annual Walk To End Lupus Now: Atlanta. The walk was initially started by a nonprofit organization, Lupus Foundation of America, the only national force working to end and bring more awareness to lupus. In Piedmont Park, work began at 6:00 a.m. for the volunteers and vendors. They were responsible for pitching purple tents, filling massive containers with ice and water, build the stage and set up welcome stations.
Jordan Brantley is a volunteer for the Lupus Foundation of America: Atlanta. “I worked with them initially as an internship but I am really into nonprofits and this one stuck out to me,” Brantley said. Though she, nor her family, have been affected by lupus, Brantley saw the importance of the work this organization was doing. “Here at Lupus Foundation of America: Atlanta, we do different fundraisers like this walk to bring awareness to a deadly disease that many people don’t know about,” Brantley said. “The foundation as a whole does research on the disease, as well as fundraisers in hopes of finding a cure some scientists think doesn’t exist.”
While teams of walkers and members of the organization painted the park purple in their shirts, other volunteers splashed the park with specs of neon green. Among those volunteers was Kennesaw State University’s Pi Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. “It’s only been a week since our initiation but we are big on community service and could not wait to get started with the Lupus Foundation of America: Atlanta,” said Jessica Sanders, a senior architecture student at KSU. “This is totally a lot more fun than we expected,” Sanders said. “There are cheerleaders here, a drumline here, and even a hip hop dance instructor leading line dances to warm up today’s walkers. The energy is amazing here.”
With over 300 participants, the Lupus Foundation of America Atlanta Walk To End Lupus Now: Atlanta raised $400 thousand dollars. “There is still much more work to be done,” Brantley said. “Over one million people are affected by this disease so I encourage people to keep giving and get involved.”
The next Walk To End Lupus Now event will be held on May 14, 2016 in Columbus, Ga. The check in will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the walk will commence at 10:00 a.m. at the Hardaway High School Track. For more information on lupus, how to volunteer and/or donate, please visit http://www.lupus.org.