Fifty Shades of Pain hosts third annual Lupus Awareness Walk

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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On a Saturday morning filled with love and support, 50 Shades of Pain Inc. hosted its third annual Lupus Awareness Walk at Granger Park.

“This weekend was amazing and blessed. Each year, it keeps getting bigger and better, and I can’t wait to see what next year will look like,” Maria Harris, creator of 50 Shades of Pain Inc. said. “Our theme for this year was, “Together we can win this fight” and I feel that really showed in all the love and support we had out there.”

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues. The disease can affect your skin, joints, and cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, blood cells, and brain.

Harris said 50 Shades of Pain Inc. is dedicated not only to assisting survivors financially but also supplying emotional support and information to help survivors get in shape physically.

“My heart was overjoyed just to see the love and support that was shared to help bring awareness to what lupus really is,” Harris said. “It made it all the more worth it when speaking with fellow survivors, some of which have only been diagnosed for a short period of time and to see the tears in their eyes just knowing that they are not alone in this fight. They expressed how it helped them hearing other’s survivors testimonies and meeting new friends to have as long-term support.”

Lupus survivor Franchez Marshall said to be among others with similar stories felt uplifting.

“I found I had lupus after I graduated in 2019. Since then, it’s been an up-and-down journey. I’ve had good times, and I’ve had bad times but I’ve been doing OK,” Marshall said. “To be here amongst all the love and support is a good feeling. To see our survivors doing good and here with us feels great.”

Tina Harrison said she has had lupus for 26 years.

“I recently went to the doctor and will have my fourth back surgery soon. This is a great occasion to continue spreading lupus awareness. I’m glad to be here, and I will continue to fight until I can’t fight anymore,” Harrison said. “I look forward to the walk it every year. I couldn’t get out and raise money this year like I used to, but I’m glad to be here and to see everybody out.”

Cathy Boykin said her fight with lupus started in 2013 when she started having complications with joint swelling and couldn’t walk.

“I woke up one morning and I had bad pain in both my feet and hands. I knew I had arthritis and went from doctor to doctor before I was officially diagnosed with lupus. It’s been a big struggle because I have two kids and along with battling this disease,” Boykin said. “This is my first walk, and it’s been great being out here with so much support. I’m thankful for my family and friends. They’ve been supportive of me helping me get up in the morning and even making daily chores for me to do. I’m very grateful for all my support.”

Survivors in need of assistance can go to or call (706) 415-1517.