April 24, 2009

50 Years Without New Lupus Treatments Unacceptable!

Dear LFA Friend:

I volunteered to serve as a national spokesperson for the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) soon after my younger sister, Shneequa, was diagnosed with a very serious case of lupus that affected her brain.

My sister was a strong woman who endured much, but somehow always managed to maintain her beautiful smile. Shneequa recently lost her 12-year battle with lupus, passing away quietly on March 18. My memories of Shneequa are very precious to me and to our family. And we will continue to fight for every woman, man and child with lupus until we find a cure.

After Shneequa was diagnosed, I quickly learned how each person’s experience with lupus is unique. I also saw firsthand the side effects from some of the current lupus treatments. These side effects are unacceptable, and some can even be worse than the disease itself. It is hard to understand why it has been 50 years since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug to treat lupus. The lack of new treatments is frustrating to me, and likely to you, as well.

But certainly it is not due to lack of trying by many researchers around the world. Rather, it is due to the complicated nature of the disease.

I want you to know that the LFA is asking the tough questions and working to bring down the barriers that have obstructed lupus research in the past. The LFA research program awards grants to fund studies in important research areas that previously were neglected or underfunded. But last year we were able to fund only one in four worthy proposals submitted by lupus investigators.

It is only with your support that we can unlock the answers to this disease and change the future for those living with lupus. Your special tax-deductible gift to the Lupus Foundation of America will enable the LFA to support critically needed studies to understand the causes of lupus, develop new, more tolerable and effective treatments, and ultimately, find a cure for lupus.

Shneequa has been, and will always be, my inspiration. She is the reason that I continue to advocate at the state and federal level to increase government funding for lupus research. Through research, there is hope. Please make a special tax-deductible gift today so the LFA can provide hope to all people with lupus, and to the families and caregivers of those who are fighting this challenging disease.

Thank you for taking time to read my message, and thank you for your continued support of the Lupus Foundation of America.


Tomiko Fraser Hines
LFA National Spokesperson and Shneequa Fraser’s big sister

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