Maddie Handley Named 2017 Chicago Lupus Walk Ambassador
Ambassador Maddie Handley and her family promote lupus awareness at annual walk
This year, the Lupus Society of Illinois (LSI) in Chicago celebrates its 17th annual Lupus Walk on Sept. 24, 2017. 14-year-old Maddie Handley began her lupus journey two years ago, when she was diagnosed after seeing numerous doctors for a variety of symptoms. Being a teenager with lupus, she acknowledges it does affect her day-to-day life – missing certain activities, and having to spend more time away from school.
Maddie attended her first Lupus Walk last year. “I found it to be a really good experience,” Maddie says. “Not as many people know about lupus as compared to other diseases. It was good to see so much support in one place for people with lupus,” she says.
Only fifteen percent of people with lupus are children. Ninety percent of people with lupus are women between 15 and 45 years of age. Minorities are affected at a higher rate and African Americans are nearly two to three times more likely to acquire lupus than Caucasians. However, anyone at any age can develop lupus.
“Maddie is proof that one person can make a difference in the fight against lupus,” says Charles Brummell, President and CEO of the Lupus Society of Illinois, the organization hosting the Walk. “Although only fifteen years old, Maddie is bravely sharing her story to put a spotlight on this often misunderstood disease. As Chicago Lupus Walk Ambassador, Maddie is making a difference.”
Maddie became involved with the Lupus Society of Illinois after her diagnosis, and it has given her the positivity and awareness that spurred her to promote it in others. Helping Maddie on her mission to spread lupus awareness is her family. Maddie’s entire family supports her in her battle against lupus. Her father, Alan Handley, is the CEO of Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS). LRS has been supporting lupus awareness and the LSI for 2 years, and is the premier sponsor of the Illinois Lupus Walks.
Over 1000 participants are expected to attend the Chicago Lupus Walk in the hopes of raising $120,000 toward LSI’s mission: to promote lupus awareness and complement the work of health care professionals by providing personalized resources for the lupus community while supporting research.
Along with raising awareness, the Chicago 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.
Register for the Chicago Illinois Lupus Walk
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