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Mari Gonzalez has lived with lupus since 2012 – she Walks for Lupus to raise awareness and funds to help others

CHICAGO, IL, September – Mari Gonzalez is named the Ambassador for the 2022 Chicago Lupus Walk. She was chosen due to her outstanding commitment to the lupus community.

Mari Gonzalez was diagnosed in 2012 and her life has never been the same. Due to lupus and its side effects, the single mom had to quit a job she loved and fell into a depression.

“I began seeing a counselor because I felt worthless,” says Mari. “I didn’t have a purpose since I couldn’t use my education that I worked so hard to obtain.”

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any system in the body. Ninety percent of people with lupus are women. There’s no known cause and no known cure for lupus. Depression is a common side effect of lupus and some symptoms of lupus can mask as depression.

“LSI works hard to provide support to the lupus community,” says Mary Dollear, President of the Lupus Society of Illinois. “There’s so much confusion about what lupus is that many people with lupus feel isolated. That’s why LSI offers support groups to allow people to meet others in their communities with lupus.”

Mari is one of the LSI’s volunteer support group leaders. The benefits of the support group have been profound. “Thanks to LSI I’m facilitating three support groups and LOVING IT,” says Mari. “I feel like I am no longer worthless and that I do have a purpose again. I love to educate, empower, and care about others. I have had to learn how to work with the ‘new me.’ She is also awesome!!!”

“All of LSI’s support groups are volunteer driven,” says Dollear. “And all of our leaders help the lupus community. Mari’s taking on three groups really is awesome!”

LSI is only able to provide support programs thanks to the generosity of the Illinois Lupus Walks.

“I have participated in the Chicago Lupus Walks since 2013,” says Mari. “Even during COVID I had my team walk to bring lupus awareness to the north side of Chicago.”

Mari will be at Sunday’s Chicago Lupus Walk along with her team.

Along with raising awareness and funds to support LSI’s mission, the Lupus Walk will also be full of fun activities, such as a DJ and entertainment, a raffle and a team t-shirt contest. There will be a festival area with a stage and tents for LSI sales, kids’ activities, top teams and sponsors. Light refreshments will be served.

About the Chicago Lupus Walk & Fun Run
WHEN: 8:30am-12:00pm, September 18, 2022
WHERE: Rowers Lagoon, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL
Day-of registration begins at 8:30am – adults: $30, kids (12 and under): $10
Online pre-registration HERE – adults: $25, kids (12 and under): $10
All registered participants receive an official 2022 Lupus Walk t-shirt and personal fundraising page. 1 or 3-mile routes are available

About the Lupus Society of Illinois
The Lupus Society of Illinois (LSI), formed in 1973, is the Midwest’s leading non-profit health organization dedicated to finding the causes and cure for lupus.

LSI’s mission is to promote lupus awareness and complement the work of health care professionals by providing personalized resources for the lupus community while supporting research.

With the help of informed volunteers, lupus medical experts, and committed and caring supporters, we:
• support research and conduct education programs so everyone affected by lupus can have an improved quality of life;
• provide information to ensure people with lupus and their families get answers and health professionals know about new means to diagnose and manage the disease; and,
• conduct activities to increase awareness of lupus, rally public support for those who are affected by lupus, and advocate on their behalf.

About Lupus:
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat.

For more information about lupus or the Lupus Society of Illinois contact Mary Dollear, President, at (312) 542-0002.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Dollear, LSI, (312) 648-6053, [email protected]

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