On Friday May 10th, World Lupus Day, runners took to the streets in purple participating in a POP Up Run/Walk in memory of lupus fighter Crystal Stubbs. Proceeds from the event benefitted Lupus 242, a local non-profit organization providing support and information for persons in The Bahamas living with lupus.
Three years ago the first POP UP Run/Walk had 30 participants. This year, the event attracted more than 100 participants including 70 employees from Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Limited. The four-mile run/walk started at Goodman’s Bay to Sandals Resort and back.
Event organizer and Lupus 242 supporter Natasha Nixon invited fellow runners to join her for the first pop up run three years ago. After her mother-in-law, Crystal Stubbs passed away from lupus, Nixon became committed to doing something that would help the cause.
“I run a lot, and I am passionate about healthy living, diet, and exercise. I love running for a worthy cause. I look forward to giving back and supporting Lupus 242,” Nixon explained. “The idea of having people leave work or whatever they are doing to come and partake in an evening walk is far more fun and less hectic than if we did a more organized run/walk. In that case it would not have the uniqueness to be called a Pop Up Run/Walk.”
Nixon said the event raised about $1800, which will go to the support group’s awareness initiatives. She is looking forward to next year’s POP Up Run/Walk to have a larger turn out. “I was overwhelmed with the amount of purple shirts I saw at this year’s POP UP Run. Even if people aren’t participating in the run/walk, I was pleased when they donate money just because.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of a person’s body including their skin, joints and major organs. The signs and symptoms may last longer than six weeks and in most cases years.
Since 2012, Lupus 242 has organized events that aide in raising awareness about the autoimmune disease. The group started this year’s awareness month off by encouraging the public to P.O.P (Put On Purple) for Lupus every Friday in the month, followed by a church service at Living Waters Kingdom Ministries, Oakes Field on Sunday May 5th.
Vice President of Lupus242, Shonalee Johnson thanked Nixon for her commitment to the cause., “Our goal continues to be to educate the public about lupus and the affects that it can have on a person and their family. This event started with a family dealing with lupus and the loss of their loved one. Natasha has turned their grief into something positive. It’s a fitting tribute to her mother-in-law and a way for the family to honor her memory.”
In addition to the walk, the support group held a Health Talk on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the University of The Bahamas with speakers Dr. K. Neil Parker, Rheumatologist, Dr. Shamika Strachan, Dentist, and Mr. Sheldon Prince, Physiotherapist. The group will end its awareness month with Hope Floats Memory Ceremony/ Ribbon Formation on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 6 p.m. at the top of Fort Charlotte.