What (And When) is Lupus Awareness Month 2021?

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Lupus is a chronic, long-term disease that affects millions of Americans. Lupus causes inflammation and pain throughout the body, and can cause many challenges for those living with the disease. 

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease — the body’s system that typically fights infections attacks healthy tissue, causing skin, joint, and organ problems. Whether you have lupus yourself or know someone diagnosed, it’s important to spread awareness and education about this condition.

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and there are many ways to get involved. There are several in-person and digital events in May, and it’s the perfect opportunity to get involved. In this guide, we’ll explore what Lupus Awareness Month is and how to get involved. 

What is Lupus Awareness Month?

Lupus Awareness Month is time in the United States and many other countries to educate the population about lupus. These efforts do happen all year long. However, May is a special time to honor those affected by Lupus.

During lupus awareness month, there is a focus on all of the following:

  • Support: This is a time to support those living with lupus and those affected by lupus. From knowing what to say when someone is sick to lending a helping hand, every small kindness matters. 
  • Remembrance: Due to increased diagnosis and disease management, the outlook for lupus is typically good. That being said, some have still lost their lives to lupus, and May is a time to honor their memory. 
  • Visibility: Because lupus is a “silent” disease, there aren’t any physical signs that a person has lupus. This means many people feel invisible and alone. Lupus Awareness Month is a time for shining a light on what they go through. 
  • Education: May is also a time for general education about Lupus.
  • Prevention: Like other awareness months, this is also a time to encourage prevention through early screenings and regular checkups. Learning early signs and symptoms means less suffering. 
  • Research: Lupus Awareness Month is also an opportunity to fundraise for research toward advanced treatment and a cure. 

There are so many ways to honor Lupus Awareness Month, whether you participate in a local fundraising event, donate in someone’s name, or simply educate yourself on the disease. 

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What Is the History of Lupus Awareness Month?

Lupus Awareness Month isn’t a new practice. It dates back to the 1970s when the first Lupus Awareness Month was observed. In 1997, President Jimmy Carter signed Public Law 95-72 to establish a week-long observance in honor of lupus awareness. 

While the original National Lupus Awareness Week was in September, it was moved to October and lengthened to a full month. In 2009, the Lupus Foundation of America shifted to May. Since then, significant strides have been made in lupus research and public education thanks to this yearly observance.  

When Is Lupus Awareness Month?

Though Lupus Awareness Month shifted on the US calendar a few times, it has been held each year in May since 2009. May was chosen because World Lupus Day is honored on May 10th every year.

As a month, May holds a lot of symbolism. This month bridges the gap between spring and summer, offering a period of growth and rebirth. Since the majority of those affected by lupus are women, May also symbolizes feminine power and strength. This is a time to remember that lupus doesn’t have to define who someone is and their legacy. 

What Are the Ribbon Colors or Symbols for Lupus Awareness Month?

It’s common to wear a specific color or symbol to raise awareness. The most classic symbol for diseases and medical conditions is a ribbon. Though simple, these ribbons are a powerful way to show support and solidarity for those affected by a specific disease. 

Purple ribbons are worn for Lupus Awareness. May 15th, a few days after World Lupus Day, is often referred to as Put on Purple Day. Wearing purple on May 15th demonstrates support for those affected by lupus. 

Aside from purple ribbons, you might also see butterflies and flowers as symbols for lupus awareness. The butterfly, in particular, symbolizes growth, change, and strength — all characteristics of those who live with lupus every day. 

What Activities Can You Do to Acknowledge Lupus Awareness Month?

There are endless ways to acknowledge lupus awareness month anywhere you live. Whether you promote awareness online, in-person, or some combination, you’re making a difference. Here are some ways to participate in Lupus Awareness Month in your community.

Support someone you love

If you personally know someone with lupus, this is a great time to offer support. Perhaps you can give them a get-well gift for their bad days or ask what support you can offer on those days. Since this is a “silent” disease, people who have Lupus may need help many days. 

Share on social media

For a simple way to get involved, share awareness information on your own social media profile. The Lupus Awareness Month toolkit from the Lupus Foundation has many great graphics you can easily share in just a few clicks. 

Make a donation

It goes without saying that donations are always welcome and helpful. From memorial donation ideas to gifting money to research organizations, every penny counts. No matter how much you can give, this is a tangible way to make a difference. 

Wear purple

As mentioned above, wearing purple during Lupus Awareness Month shows your support. When people ask why you’re wearing this specific color, use it as an opportunity to talk about lupus awareness. Those who know what the color represents will appreciate the solidarity. 

Join a local walk

Fundraising walks are common during Lupus Awareness Month. These walks usually require participants to pledge a certain donation in honor of a lupus charity, and everyone joins together for a common cause. Seeing so many people in support of lupus awareness is always inspiring. 

Participate in a clinical trial

If you or someone you know has lupus, a great way to advance medical treatment is by participating in a clinical trial. While you should always talk to your doctor before joining a medical study, this is a real-life way to show support and fight for change. 

Write to local lawmakers

Local, state, and federal government is often in charge of determining which areas of research get the most funding. Take time during May to write to your representatives to ask them to increase funding for lupus research and ongoing support. 

Learn the early signs 

Last but not least, educate yourself about lupus. Taking the time to learn the early signs and symptoms helps you prepare just in case, and also allows you to inform loved ones. Early detection is so important, so be sure you know when to talk to a doctor. 

Fighting for a Cure to Lupus

Every day is the right time to spread awareness about lupus. Whether you’re affected by Lupus yourself or know someone who is. Lupus Awareness Month is just one opportunity to shine a light on this disease while fighting for a cure and medical advancements. 

From participating in a local event to donating your own time or money, there are many ways to support those living with this “silent” disease. Change often starts with the individual. Now that you know everything about Lupus Awareness Month, you’re ready to take action this May and beyond. 


Sources:
  1. “Did You Know That It Is Lupus Awareness Month?” ACCEL Research Sites. AccelResearchSites.com

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