DATE: 19th October 2009 Leicester University E Bulletin Downing Street visit for Lupus researcher
Leicester academic attends reception supporting research into immune system disease
Dr Mark D. Evans, a member of the Radiation & Oxidative Stress Section in the Department of Cancer Studies & Molecular Medicine at the University of Leicester, was one of 80 people invited to Downing Street when Sarah Brown hosted a reception during October,
Lupus Awareness Month, in support of research into Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Lupus is a disease of the immune system, likened to self-allergy, where the immune system targets an dividual’s own tissues and organs. There are some 50,000 sufferers in the UK and possibly many more people living with disease, but undiagnosed. Dr Evans explained: “I was put forward as a guest by Mrs Yvonne Norton, chair of West Midlands Lupus Group, who I have known for many years, as I had also contributed a chapter on ‘Drug-Induced Lupus’ to a book edited by Yvonne (‘Lupus – Diagnosis & Treatment’), published by LUPUS UK and launched at the reception.
“Our research group at the University of Leicester has in the past examined and published work regarding DNA damage and repair, oestrogens and lupus-inducing drugs - the role of oxidative stress, antioxidants and DNA damage in the pathogenesis of SLE remains an area of interest for us.”
Lupus has many symptoms (ranging from non-specific – fatigue, weight change, fever, swollen glands, muscle and joint pain; to more specific – particular types of skin rash, light sensitivity, mouth ulcers, inflammation of membranes in the chest, abdomen and around the heart, arthritis, blood and kidney abnormalities, seizures or psychosis) which can vary with individual presentation, almost no organ system may remain unaffected.
SLE is significantly more prevalent in women, who also are more likely to have pregnancy complications. A genetically complex disease, SLE, can also be exacerbated or initiated by external factors, such as viral infection, ultraviolet light, selected medications and possibly some dietary components.
DATE: Tuesday, 3rd November 2009 STRATFORD MIDWEEK HERALD In tune for charity Barford villagers took to the stage and raised more than £300 for World Lupus Month during a karaoke night at The Granville recently.
Local village character Duncan Montague, who normally frequents the bar from the other side, spent the evening serving customers from behind the bar and donated his tips to the charity. The pub has been supporting Lupus for about two years and has raised £3,300 so far through fundraising events and donations. Proprietor Val Kersey said. “We’re delighted to have raised yet more money in support of World Lupus Month. As well as supporting a very worthwhile charity everyone enjoyed the evening and it was great to hear so many talented voices. “My best friend’s sister died of lupus and now her niece has been diagnosed so it’s very close to home really.” Ms Kersey said regular customer Alan Byereley’s wife, Carol, also died of the disease last year.
Each October Lupus, the worldwide charity for people with the incurable immune system illness, aims to raise awareness and inform those seeking diagnosis of the help and support available to them. More than five million people worldwide have lupus, including 50,000 in the UK. Ninety per cent of sufferers are female but men and young children can also be affected by the disease. Sufferers endure terrible symptoms and in some cases lupus is fatal.
The next fundraising event at The Granville will be a ‘70s ABBA evening on New Year’s Eve, and there is a box on the bar where donations can be placed throughout the year.
DATE: 1st October 2009 CANNOCK CHASE POST Family taking Lupus message to the top A Hednesford family is off to Number 10 Downing Street in a bid to get a special message across at the highest level.
John and his family will be travelling to London to raise awareness of the debilitating condition Lupus.
They will also be accompanied by members of West Midlands Lupus Group. John, aged 31, has been fundraising for the Lupus Group since his
sister Viki Hibbs, was diagnosed with the condition 18 months ago. And as October is Lupus Awareness Month, John wanted to do something special.
He was astounded that despite her busy schedule, PM Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah has agreed to host a charity evening at No 10 for the cause on Tuesday (October 6).
Lupus Group chairman Yvonne Norton MBE has written a book for GPs entitled ‘Lupus - Diagnosis & Treatment’, so the No 10 meeting is also to publicise her work. John said the main symptoms of Lupus are fatigue, muscle aches and pains - so the condition can often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Since his sister was diagnosed, John has taken part in charity runs, and held raffles and car boot sales. He has already raised £3,000 for the West Midlands Lupus Group. Fundraising has also involved an artist creating special pictures for the charity, one selling for over £1,000.
Liverpool FC have agreed to allow two paintings of team members to be created and sold for the charity. They have sent two photographs from which more artwork will be inspired. Despite suffering from arthritis, John will be running the London Marathon next year for the cause.
Monies raised from the marathon will be used to help continue funding the Lupus UK specialist nurse and the Lupus UK research co-ordinator, both based at Queen Elizabeth/City Hospitals, Birmingham - the first fully patient-funded posts of their kind in the UK.
John’s efforts are also attracting hundreds of hits on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
Visits to No 10 are normally for between 40-80 people. They involve a drinks reception with ‘short, informal speeches’.
“We are desperate to help those who suffer from Lupus and help increase awareness of doctors and the public about the disease,” John said. His sister Viki is now managing the disease, though she suffers from side effects from the steroids she has to take. As well as his wife and sister, John will also be taking his parents, grandparents, Viki’s consultant and nurse, and one of his supporters. Wolverhampton soul singer Beverley Knight has also been invited. The remaining guests will be invited by Lupus West Midlands and Lupus UK.