Have you ever heard of Scleroderma? If you are a black woman of childbearing age, you need to find out. According to the Scleroderma Foundation, African-Americans in that group are 15 times more likely to contract the disease than Caucasians. The disease occurs when a person's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissue in the body.
The month of June is Scleroderma Awareness Month. Here in Detroit, one group hopes to bring attention to the disease, it’s symptoms and affects on the body. The Miss Lu Foundation, established by Lu Brooks, is sponsoring Ladies Let’s Live!, a “Beauty Breakfast and Fashion Show” on Saturday, June 1 to benefit the Scleroderma Foundation of Michigan.
There are two forms of the disease, localized and systematic. Localized affects only the skin. The systematic form can affect any part of the body (skin, muscles, blood vessels and internal organs).
In the United States alone, an estimated 300,000 people suffer from the disease. Of that number, experts say a good percentage, one-third of those affected by the systematic form, are African-American.
“I was extremely tired in the early nineties and noticed spots on my fingers, but no doctor could tell me what it all stemmed from,” says Miss Lu, hostess of the Ladies Let’s Live event. After being misdiagnosed several times, the culprit was finally identified. I wasn’t diagnosed with Scleroderma until 2008, after I was asked to see a rheumatologist,” added Miss Lu.
The June 1 event, taking place at Burton Manor in Livonia, will bring together women from all walks of life. The goal is provide an environment where they can learn, get and give support, enjoy national speakers and celebrate all aspects of beauty, confidence, generosity and perseverance that makes women beautiful.
Harriet Goodall, a senior citizen who lives in Detroit, was diagnosed in 1999 and was only given five years to live at the time. Today, she lives with the disease and has hopes research and awareness will lead to a solution for sufferers. “I just want to live to see a cure,” she says.
Since the disease can potentially affect internal organs, there is a risk of mortality with the Systematic form of the disease. The good news is that with advances in diagnosis and treatment, those affected can potentially live as long as someone without the disease.
When asked why she decided to put on this event, Miss Lu said, “Everybody I talked to had never heard about this disease, so I want people to be aware of it so at least it would be known.”
Ladies Let’s Live includes health and fitness tips, beauty bags and prizes. Also, nationally-known speakers and entertainers including saxophonist Yancyy, Oprah Winfrey Popstar winner LaShell Renee, former Miss USA winner, Carole Gist, and national speaker and author, Kim Brooks, are scheduled to be there to uplift and encourage those that attend.
Ladies Let’s Live! Beauty Breakfast and Fashion Show is taking place on Saturday, June 1 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM at Burton Manor, 27777 Schoolcraft Rd, Livonia, MI 48150. Tickets for the fund-raising event are available at Baker’s Bible and Bookstore, 10200 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48204 or Truth Bookstore inside Northland mall or online at http://www.beautybreakfast.eventbrite.com Call 1-313-757-0345 for more info.