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5.16.17 More than 150 community members turned out to celebrate and help raise funds for Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus this past Saturday. It was the sixth annual event aiming to raise awareness and support for individuals and families living with lupus, a disease in which your body’s immune system attacks your own organs and tissues. Set in beautiful Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon, the event drew people from across the United States – with some traveling all the way from Montana. The Chronic Disease Coalition was honored to participate as well. Born out of many years of hard work and advocacy, the Butterfly Walk not only helps to raise awareness for those living with lupus, the event also helps raise vital funds for Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus, which hosts online support groups, organizes local support groups and provides financial assistance to patients, among other initiatives. Speaking on the humble beginnings of Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus, founder Molly McCabe reflected on how the organization came to be the vibrant organization that it is today. Starting out as a fledgling support group that met in a small church, Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus has truly blossomed a decade later into a thriving nonprofit consisting of dedicated employees, board members, advocates and community members. After a heartfelt thank you to each of the fundraising teams, event attendees took to the 1k to 3k course, with many walking for at least one hour despite being accompanied by the ever-present Oregon drizzle. While the Butterfly Walk may be Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus’ largest event, the nonprofit also organizes other events in April to coincide with Lupus Awareness Month, such as the lighting of Morrison Bridge in Portland to be purple – the official color for Lupus Awareness Month – and creating a wide variety of social media and blog content. The Chronic Disease Coalition hosted a booth at the event to help educate and provide opportunities for community members to get involved in patient advocacy. Other community organizations, which included the African American Health Coalition, were also in attendance. With Lupus Awareness Month still in full swing, we encourage you to get involved in lupus education and advocacy efforts in your community – whether it’s a local walk, fundraiser or community seminar. Advocating and protecting the rights of those living with chronic and life-threatening conditions is a lifelong journey, but with your help, we can make a difference. Join the Chronic Disease Coalition today as we advocate, raise chronic disease awareness and work to protect patients’ rights.