For Immediate Release: May 2, 2012
Sen. Constance N. Johnson
Senate passes resolution recognizing May 3rd as Lupus
Advocacy Day at State Capitol
May is National Lupus Awareness Month and this week,
the Senate approved a resolution to help raise awareness of the
disease that kills more women each year than breast cancer. Senate
Resolution 55, authored by Sen. Constance
N. Johnson, recognizes May 3, 2012 as Lupus Advocacy Day at
the State Capitol.
“Lupus is a devastating disease that strikes many women
in the prime of their lives. It not only impacts women, but their
families who have to deal with the complications and consequences
of this horrible disease,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County.
Lupus is an acute and chronic autoimmune disease that affects
1.5 million Americans and around 25,000 Oklahomans. In lupus,
the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue
damage to virtually every organ system in the body. The disease
can affect any part of the body, including the skin, lungs, heart,
kidneys and brain. It can also cause seizures, strokes, heart
attacks, miscarriages and organ failures.
Lupus Foundation of America, Oklahoma Chapter Executive Director
Mannix Barnes said Tuesday’s approval of resolutions in
both the House and Senate signify a unity among state legislators
that more resources need to be dedicated to finding a cure for
"I truly believe that we are close to finding a cure for
lupus if we continue to work together and appropriate the necessary
resources for research, education and awareness,” said Barnes.
“I can honestly say from an executive viewpoint in an organization
that fields thousands of calls annually from women affected by
this disease, I hope research one day will be able to put us out
of business and start saving lives in return.”
While lupus can strike men and women of all ages, 90 percent of
individuals diagnosed with the disease are women, mostly of childbearing
Minorities including African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans,
Asian Americans and Native Americans are two to three times more
likely to develop lupus – a disparity that remains unexplained.
Lupus can be particularly difficult to diagnose because its symptoms
are similar to those of many other illnesses, and major gaps exist
in understanding the causes and consequences of lupus.
The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, one
of the leaders in lupus research nationwide, recently found genes
that could signify that lupus
can be passed on from one generation to another.
“I want to commend the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s
for its dedication and commitment to helping find a cure for lupus
and for its most recent promising gene research,” said Johnson.
“I also want to remind citizens that they can help researchers
get closer to finding a cure by helping fund critical research
by donating their personal income tax refunds to lupus research.”
In 2011, the legislature passed House Bill 1998 creating an income
tax check-off allowing citizens to donate a portion or all of
their income tax refund to the Oklahoma Lupus Revolving Fund to
support lupus research.