Eileen Fraser and the Parksville Warriors are preparing for their annual Walk for Lupus on Saturday, May 5.
Pipers will join the awareness raising walk from the clock tower in front of Home Hardware up Highway 19a to A&W for refreshments.
Fraser said when the pipers joined them a couple of years ago, they gave out twice as many pamphlets and had cars honking in support and stopping to see what was going on.
She also suggested that some recent celebrity diagnoses like R&B singer Toni Braxton and 31-year-old America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon — like the walk — help bring the debilitating disease home to people who may not know of anyone with it.
They still don’t know what causes the auto-immune related disease which has no known cure. Called “the disease with a 1,000 faces,” symptoms range from joint pain, hair loss and fatigue to chest pain, swelling feet and legs, seizures or other neurological symptoms.
There can be an unusual reaction to sunlight or various types of rashes, small ulcers in the nose or mouth, or the most notable symptom, a red rash across the nose and upper cheeks that look vaguely wolf-like, giving the disease its name — from the Latin for wolf.
It can be confused, masked by, or even complicated by things like arthritis, fibromyalgia and osteoporosis and there are almost no doctors specializing in the disease.
Around 25 people took part in the fun social event last year with the weather co-operating for one sunny day but Fraser added that a few tears were shed in memory of those that have passed on.
People will meet for the walk at the clock tower in front of Home Hardware in downtown Parksville at 10 a.m.
Visit www.lupuscanada.org for more on the disease or call Eileen at 250-248-2905 for more on the lupus support group which meets once a month at a local restaurant.