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Friday December 19, 2008

Raising more than just their umbrellas

A TOTAL of 1,088 people with umbrellas took part in the 2km charity walk around the Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall last Sunday, raising RM40,000 in aid of people with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (Lupus).

Their efforts also earned a place in the Malaysia Book of Records for the ‘Largest participation of walkers with umbrellas’.

Malaysian SLE Association (PSLEM) president Associate Prof Dr Esha Das Gupta said the walk created an awareness that SLE sufferers needed to avoid the sun.

Rain or shine: Participants walking along the 2km stretch of the 2nd Annual Walk-a-Payung event at Sunway Pyramid shopping mall.

“It also creates an awareness of the potentially devastating disease where its sufferers face the potential of strokes, heart attacks, disabling pain and fatigue, disfiguring skin rashes, and other serious health problems associated with this chronic disorder.

“The funds raised from last year’s Walk-a-Payung have enabled the association to set up a chapter in Penang and develop their own pool of counsellors to carry out counselling work in major government hospitals.”

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, who attended the event, could also relate to the care givers as one of her family member also suffered from SLE.

“The Walk-a-Paying 2008 is just the beginning of more fundraising efforts to achieve a target of RM500,00 for the SLE Fund, which will hopefully help SLE patients pay for certain expensive medications,” she said, adding that a hip replacement surgery costs RM32,000,

For MTV veejays May Wan and Choy Wan, who were seen selling their special edition calendars at the event, supporting the cause is something close to their hearts as their mother was diagnosed as an SLE sufferer 12 years ago.

They have been raising funds through sales of their calendars since 2005.

“We are always praying for our mother’s well-being,” Choy Wan said.

Datin Rahmah Kassim, the organising chairperson for the event, added that the PSLEM members were either patients or family members of the patients.

Participants were required to pay RM20 to take part.

About 200 SLE patients joined in the walk. One of them was 42-year-old Noridah Mohd Hushim who was diagnosed with SLE when she was pregnant.

“With all the chemotherapy, dialysis, and medication I had to take, I had no choice but to undergo an abortion.

“Due to SLE, I was wheelchair-bound for three months then and I could neither talk nor walk. It was even difficult for me to eat as my hand would let go of the food uncontrollably before it reaches my mouth,” she recalled.

Now with medication, her condition is under control.

“But there were side effects such as cataracts, I recently underwent surgery to treat it,” she added.

For details about PSLEM or to buy the special edition calendar, visit www.lupusmalaysia.org or call 03-7957 7672.

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