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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2012

Sen. Constance N. Johnson
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 lupus.

"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 age.

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.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Johnson: (405) 521-5531

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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