Colin Mochrie, Debra McGrath and Patrick McKenna raise awareness of
'The disease with 1,000 faces' on World Lupus Day
TORONTO, May 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Canadian comedians who have brought us thousands of laughs are now partnering up to raise awareness of 'the disease with a thousand faces.' To mark the occasion of World Lupus Day, Lupus Canada is teaming up with Canadian celebrities Colin Mochrie, Debra McGrath and Patrick McKenna to raise awareness of this life-threatening and life-altering disease. Lupus is a mysterious illness that varies in symptoms and severity from person to person, impacting one in every thousand Canadians.
Canadian actor Patrick McKenna, best known for playing Harold Green on "The Red Green Show" is no stranger to lupus - his own mother has lived through the ups and downs of the disease since her diagnosis over 25 years ago.
"Although she suspected something was wrong for some time, my mother's lupus diagnosis took several years during which she endured many health complications," says Mr. McKenna. "There was no family history of lupus and since the symptoms of the disease can mimic other illnesses, doctors originally thought it might be a problem with her kidneys or gallbladder."
Because of the varied symptoms, lupus can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Lupus can attack any tissue or organ in the body including skin, muscles, joints, blood and blood vessels, lungs, heart, kidneys and the brain. Lupus also impacts nine times more women than men, often in the prime of their lives, between the ages of 15 and 45 years.
"At first my mother kept her condition a secret and suffered in isolation, as is the case with many lupus patients," says Mr. McKenna. "Her condition manifested itself internally for several years before her physical symptoms - lesions and hair loss - followed. It wasn't until I got involved with Lupus Canada that she actually went to see a specialist who was able to get her lupus under control."
And Mr. McKenna isn't alone in his crusade to raise awareness of lupus. Colin Mochrie, Canadian actor and improvisational comedian most famously known for his role on the hit show 'Who's Line Is It Anyway?' and wife and actress, Debra McGrath from CBC's 'Little Mosque on the Prairie' are joining forces with Mr. McKenna to ensure their voices are heard.
"Canadians are constantly bombarded with messages about other illnesses but you hardly ever hear people talk about lupus," says Mr. Mochrie. "Our goal is to make lupus part of our everyday vocabulary. The more we talk about lupus the more we can begin to move the meter for this unknown and underfunded illness."
"Over the course of my career a great deal of research and time has been invested in lupus - but there is still a long way to go," says Dr. Paul Fortin, Rheumatologist and Lupus Expert, "We're now seeing the release of new care plans and therapies specifically designed for lupus, filling a void for patients who need them."
Observing World Lupus Day offers lupus patients the comfort of knowing their condition is recognized and being addressed on a global level.
"Lupus is not an automatic death sentence," says Mr. McKenna. "Unlike twenty years ago, where people suffered in silence and there was very little information, today family, friends and entire lupus communities can come together and support patients."
In provinces across Canada, Walk For Lupus www.walkforlupus.ca events will be held in May and June to raise funds for lupus research. Even if Canadians can't join a walk you can help support Colin Mochrie, Debra McGrath and Patrick McKenna by donating to their virtual Walk For Lupus at www.walkforlupus.ca.
About Lupus Canada
Lupus Canada, working together with its provincial partners, is a national voluntary organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with lupus through advocacy, education, public awareness, support and research. They provide educational and support resources for people whose lives are touched by lupus, raise awareness of lupus and provide funding for research. Through the support of events such as Walk For Lupus and generous, engaged individual and corporate donors, they are able to continue their work on behalf of people living with lupus. To learn more about lupus, Lupus Canada, their member organizations and divisions, visit www.lupuscanada.org or contact them at 1-800-661-1468.
For further information:
For more information or to book an interview, please contact:
Lupus Canada Contacts:
Environics Communications Inc.
Executive Director, Lupus Canada
Tel: 905-513-0004 ext. 222 1-800-661-1468