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Lupus awareness takes center stage in Utica

Posted 5/26/23

The rallying cry for Lupus Awareness Month was echoed in Oneida County, with an event at the Masonic Medical Research Institute.

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Lupus awareness takes center stage in Utica


UTICA — The rallying cry for Lupus Awareness Month was echoed in Oneida County, with an event that took place Friday, May 19, at the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI), 2150 Bleecker St.

Local leaders, patient advocates, and scientists alike came together to both raise awareness and celebrate the positive steps made toward combating lupus.

More than 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide have lupus, a devastating autoimmune disease that breaks down the body’s own immune system. Fatigue, rash, lesions, joint pain, fever — these are only a few of the many symptoms experienced daily by people living with lupus.

This debilitating disease can impact anyone of any race or gender, although it disproportionately affects women, especially those of color and of minority descent.

There is currently no cure for lupus, and treatment options remain limited, underscoring the urgent need for lupus research to understand its causes and find better and more effective treatments and therapies.

In addition to furthering social awareness about lupus in our local communities, the event featured the dedication and unveiling of a new lab space in honor of the Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc. (LADA), which has and continues to support lupus research at MMRI.

The collaboration between LADA and MMRI seeks to further the salient and ground-breaking research at MMRI in this field.

Event speakers included Kathleen Arntsen, president and CEO of LADA, and Maria Kontaridis, executive director, and Gordon K. Moe, professor and chair of biomedical research and translational medicine at MMRI, whose research efforts are, in part, dedicated to lupus research.

Attendees at Friday’s event included State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-53, Rome; Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy; Assemblyman Brian D. Miller, R-122, New Hartford; former Assemblyman John Salka, who is the director of community relations for Congressman Brandon Williams; Oneida County Director of Public Health Dr. Daniel Gilmore; Regional Director at Empire State Development Allison Madmoune; members of LADA’s board of directors; members of MMRI’s Board of Directors and Community Advisory Committee, as well as many other community supporters.

May is officially recognized as Lupus Awareness Month by a New York State legislative proclamation, which was presented at the event by Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon.


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