SPEECH FOR LAUNCH OF NATIONAL LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH, OCTOBER 3, 2006
INTRODUCTION OF LAUNCH
GUEST SPEAKER DR. HELEN COOLEY
Walk in Launceston’s Mall and ask anyone you meet: “What’s Lupus disease?” and you will get very few answers.
That’s the problem with Lupus. Not many people are aware of it. Few can describe its symptoms. Some who have Lupus are not aware that they have a potentially fatal disease.
Those who are aware of Lupus, and suffer from Lupus don’t know of any cure. Because there is no known cure for Lupus.
What happens with Lupus is that white blood cells, which previously worked to repel invading infections, for no apparent reason, decide to attack healthy tissue.
That is what is happening in the bodies of about 450 Tasmanians and roughly 20,000 Australians.
This aberration of white blood cells, as sufferers know only too well, causes inflammation of connective tissue, resulting—among other things—in rashes, joint and muscle pain, fever, flu-like symptoms, weakness and extreme fatigue, and in some cases, death.
The trigger for this inappropriate immune response, which causes the body to attack itself, is not known.
So much about Lupus is not known. However, there are some hopeful signs.
Recent research suggests that white blood cells may be pushed into inappropriate behavior by the presence of a protein which may be able to be controlled.
Whether or not that’s the case, the role and reason for National Lupus Awareness Month every October remains; that is to educate people about Lupus and to promote more clinical research into a possible cure and management to enhance the lives of sufferers.
The Lupus Association of Tasmania has recently been at the forefront of moves to set up a national Lupus organization in Australia to promote research, help Lupus sufferers, and make everybody aware of exactly what Lupus is.
Awareness and research…that’s why we’re here today.
Research, of course, depends on funding, and Tasmania’s Lupus association is only too aware of the need to attract research dollars.
It’s new partnership with the Clifford Craig Medical Research can be seen in this context.
I see the partnership as a significant breakthrough, I believe the establishment of a national Lupus organization is the next big step in helping Lupus sufferers.
I would now like to welcome our guest speaker, Dr Helen Cooley…..