This past Thursday, May 3, fraternity Nu Delta Pi and sorority Chi Upsilon Sigma teamed up to hold the 5th annual Lupus Ball which is an event to honor and raise awareness for people suffering with lupus.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million people in the United States alone. It is a disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks its tissues and organs. With this disease, inflammation is very common and can affect one’s joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells and even brain, heart and lungs.
Symptoms of lupus include fever, fatigue, chest pains, confusion and memory loss. The most common and recognizable symptom is a butterfly shaped rash across one’s face. There is currently no cure for this disease that impacts so many people’s lives; however there are treatments to control and live with the symptoms.
These two organizations wanted to hold an event to show their respect for and help people suffering from lupus. The ball began at 7 p.m. in Downs Hall, where everyone was seated at purple-clothed tables, the color for lupus. Guest speakers were there to talk to the audience and inform them all about lupus.
The first was Bryanna Rios, and she discussed what it was like to have a mom with lupus. She explained that when she was younger, it confused her, and she did not understand why her mom was always sick. When she got older, however, her mom explained it to her. Rios said that the hardest part was watching her mother in pain and feeling completely helpless to her.
Rios finished her speech with advice that her mom gave her.
“She truly taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you simply adjust. So if you take anything from what I’m saying, take that. Everyone is fighting their own daily life battles, but just know you can get through it, and you can push yourself to do many things you never thought you could,” Rios said.
The second speaker, Adrianna Rodriguez, began her speech with explaining what it was like for her when she got diagnosed with lupus. She explained that she was admitted to the hospital three times within the first two weeks of her diagnosis, and that she could not even take care of herself. The medication caused her to gain 14 pounds in a week, which her high school peers did not let her forget.
The third speaker, Joanna Mendez, had a similar experience, saying that the medicine she was put on made her go from 90 pounds to 150 pounds in only a few weeks while she was still a young girl in middle school. She explained that her teacher encouraged her to do a project about lupus for her 8th grade science fair, so that her classmates would understand what she was going through.
Another groundbreaking moment in Mendez’s battle with lupus is when her older brother told her to stop living her life in fear, and convinced her to go to a lupus walk with him, where she was surrounded by people who knew exactly what she was going through. Mendez said that these two moments were the turning point for her, and after that, she has never let lupus stand in her way.
She finished her speech with great advice, saying, “The day you find the courage will be the same day you no longer let the obstacles get in your way. You will allow your strengths to be your inspiration.”
After the speeches, the brothers of Nu Delta Pi kindly served the audience with dinner. After everyone enjoyed their meal. They watched members from Kean Musical Movements deliver an impressive dance number.
The vice presidents of Chi Upsilon Sigma and Nu Delta Pi gave their closing remarks, thanking all of the speakers and everyone else for coming. The dance floor was then opened up and everyone joined together to enjoy the rest of the night.
This event was very successful in raising awareness for such a common and painful disease such as lupus. The speeches and performances that were given truly left a mark on the audience, and certainly raised awareness for lupus. The audience left the event with a better understanding and appreciation for those who suffer from lupus.