By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Anyone who has suffered from or had a loved one suffer from lupus knows how devastating the disease can be. Natalie Coates wants others to know that, too.
Coates is the driving force behind the first Lupus Walk, an event designed to raise awareness of the long-term autoimmune disease that strikes a reported 16,000 people in the U.S. each year and can be fatal.
Oates lost her son, Brendon Jackson, to the effects of lupus, a condition in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. Symptoms include inflammation, swelling, and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs.
The initial Lupus Walk will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Atmore City Hall. Participants will walk from there to Houston Avery Park, just off Martin Luther King Drive.
The event, which is sponsored by Rho Xi Sigma Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, will include fun activities and giveaways and is expected to last until 5 p.m.
Also, as part of the awareness campaign, an adult prom will be held this Saturday, May 11, from 6 p.m. until midnight at the Bay Minette Civic Center. Tickets are $12 for an individual, $22 for a couple. Most of the proceeds will go to the Lupus Foundation.
For more information on the prom, those interested may contact Secoya Perignon, Destiny Adams or Reggie Johnson.