Before i was diagnosed, I had no idea what an autoimmune disease was, how one got one or how devastating living with one could be. For me, I’ve had 40 procedures; that’s nearly as navy as the years I’ve been alive. I’ve paid nearly 200 thousand dollars out of pocket; enough money to buy a house. But I have hope for a better quality life. I gained it about three years ago when I was invited to speak at Autoimmune Walk NYC.
I learned that I wasn’t alone and that there were people affected by more than 100 serious, chronic disorders,
including Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’sDisease, Hashimoto’s, Celiac, Graves’ Disease, Sarcoidosis, and Sjogren’s Syndrome are caused by autoimmunity. So, most people likely know someone living with one or more of these conditions.
For the eighth year in a row hundreds of people living with chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases will come together for Autoimmune Walk NYC. It will take place on September 15th at 1 p.m. at Hudson River Park, Pier 45. Although the event is not in Harlem, the diseases it addresses affect many women and people of color living in Harlem and neighborhoods across New York.
If you’re still not sure why you should care, attend or donate to the walk, here’s why:
An article in the American Journal Of Public Health found Autoimmune disease deaths exceeded the frequency of the 10th leading cause in every age category of women younger than 65 years.
It also found that Autoimmune Disease deaths were greater than the eighth leading cause of death in the 15 to 24, 25 to 44, and 45 to 64 years age groups.
Autoimmune diseases represent the fourth-largest cause of disability among women inthe U.S. and are among the top 10 leading causes of death among American women 65
and younger according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.
AARDA also says about 50 million Americans or about 1 in 5 suffer from one or more autoimmune diseases. And, these diseases tend to cluster in families.
Autoimmune Walk NYC gives patients, their families and friends the opportunity to engage with and offer support to one another. It allows them to gather much needed information and raise money to support vital research to find better treatments and cures.
Join the walk;
Nika C. Beamon is the Autoimmune Walk NYC ambassador. She lives with the autoimmune disease IgG4-RD. She wrote about her harrowing fight for a diagnosis in her memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search For Dr. House. She is also a writer/producer at WABC-TV. She blogs about her illness at: https://nikabeamon.com
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