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Health Team

Raleigh walk aims to raise funds and awareness for lupus

Posted April 19, 2012 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2012 3:14 p.m. EDT

— An annual walk hosted by the Lupus Foundation of America this Sunday, April 22, aims to raise funds and awareness for a disease that is difficult to diagnose and can damage any organ in the body.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease whose symptoms vary from person to person. Because symptoms are varied, doctors can sometimes misdiagnose the disease.

Cyndi Horner, an 18-year-old from Raleigh, suffered from joint pain and severe fatigue before doctors confirmed she had lupus using an 11-point criteria system and lab tests.

"I knew something was wrong with me. It was my sixteenth birthday and I couldn't get out of bed," she said.

Horner has been undergoing treatment with pain medication and an antimalarial drug that is also used for lupus.

Christine John-Fuller of the Lupus Foundation of America said that because lupus is difficult to diagnose, it is difficult to treat as well. The FDA approved the first drug specifically made to treat lupus, Benlysta, last year.

Another important part of Horner's treatment is the strength and support she receives from other lupus patients. She has formed her own fundraising team for this Sunday's walk, and at the time of publishing, she has raised $3,440 for team "Cyn-a-buns."