Fifty Shades of Pain walk brings support and awareness for Lupus

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Hundreds of attendees came out for the annual Fifty Shades of Pain Inc. Lupus Awareness Walk/Rally on May 18 at Granger Park. The event saw incredible support for the Lupus community with decorated tents, vibrant team shirts and abundant spirit.

The walk and rally is held each year to making Lupus visible and raise support for those suffering from the painful and often debilitating disease.

The rally featured a variety of activities and informative sessions designed to raise awareness about lupus. Free educational brochures and materials were distributed, providing valuable information to participants. The highlight of the event was a talk by Kelsey Smith, a Nurse Practitioner from Arthritis and Joint Care of LaGrange, who shared insights into Lupus and rheumatology.

Maria Harris, the founder of Fifty Shades of Pain Inc., expressed her excitement at seeing her vision come to life. This annual fundraiser is the organization’s largest, and the turnout underscored the community’s dedication to the cause. Fifty Shades of Pain Inc., a non-profit organization, supports lupus survivors in the community and surrounding areas with medical needs, medication, transportation, utilities, and household necessities when they are unable to work due to illness. Additionally, Dr. Eric Marks, a volunteer counselor, provides emotional support to survivors.

The event kicked off with an entrance led by lupus survivors, holding signs that highlighted the various symptoms and effects of lupus. Maria Harris led this poignant procession, which was followed by a prayer from Pastor Michael Jackson for the survivors and the community. Encouraging words from Mayor Pro Temp Quay Boddie further uplifted the crowd. Before the walk, Christian Shakespeare from Be U Fitness led the participants in stretches and exercises to prepare for the event, followed by an engaging cardio session by Mr. Cardio, Dwight Calhoun.

A mini health fair added to the day’s offerings, with CORE providing information and COVID-19 vaccines, and Faith Healthcare Career Center offering blood pressure checks. Attendees also enjoyed various vendors and food trucks.

The track and field area was beautifully adorned with shades of purple balloons, tents, and arches, symbolizing the fight against lupus. Maria Harris, inspired by the different pains of lupus and its varied impact on individuals, aptly named the event “Fifty Shades of Pain.”

Looking ahead, the organization is eagerly preparing for their first Lupus Love Gala, set to take place on December 5, 2024, at Del’avant in LaGrange. This new event promises to continue the mission of raising awareness and supporting those affected by lupus.

The success of the Lupus Awareness Walk/Rally underscores the strength and unity of the community in supporting lupus survivors and making the invisible visible.