by Patrick B. McGuigan
The 2011 Walk for Lupus at the Oklahoma City Zoo this Saturday morning (June 4) has attracted the help of wide range of people, some living with Lupus, others simply sympathetic to the cause of battling the genetic scourge. Activists are encouraged because of recent dramatic progress in treating the potentially debilitating disease.
One women helping the cause is Emily Stringer, Mrs. Oklahoma City, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2007. She is a Walk team leader for “Stringer’s Spoons.” Krista Montufar, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, also has lupus. Her team is known as “Living La Vida Lupus.”
Also assisting is former Oklahoma City Fire Chief Jon Hansen, a board member for the Lupus Foundation of America. His daughter Jillian has lupus.
Among the joyful participants in the annual effort are members of the Phi Delta Alpha Sorority, University of Oklahoma-Alpha Chapter and Zeta Phi Beta of Oklahoma City-Xi Nu Zeta Chapter. They were honored as Outstanding Volunteers for their continued support of the Lupus Foundation of America (Oklahoma Chapter) Walk for Lupus Now event at the 2010 Jazz in the Jungle Gala Fundraiser held in November.
The two groups have volunteered to work at the registration and t-shirt tables at the Walk for Lupus annually over the last four years. A member of the Lupus foundation told The City Sentinel, “They both hold independent fundraiser to benefit the LFA-OK Chapter. Phi Delta Alpha holds an annual “Lupus Awareness Week” at OU and this year they raised $3000 to put towards the Walk for Lupus Now.”
Also throwing herself into the cause is Cynthia Rozmaryn, a radio journalist, college teacher and past president of the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club. A talented singer and performer who is living with lupus, she is organizing a team for the Lupus Walk at the Oklahoma City Zoo. She told The City Sentinel, “There are major breakthroughs in understanding the genetic roots of lupus taking place right now, in large part because of work being done right here in Oklahoma at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.”
The local Gridiron Club performs an annual parody or “roast” of local, state and national politicians and cultural trends which has raised about a quarter of a million dollars for college scholarships over recent decades. Rozmaryn said members of the group were supporting her in the walk, yet another worthy cause, this year.
She reflected, “Several Gridironers have family members diagnosed with this disease and Bart [her husband] likes to say it’s something the whole family really ‘has.’”
For those who have difficulty walking, Rozmaryn observes, “While the walk is a mile, you don’t have to walk any of it if you don’t want to. Lots of people there won’t be able to, so you won’t feel alone. I would just like to see folks wearing purple (as much or as little as you like) supporting the cause, and Bart and me.” Her team will be known as “Cindy’s Wolfies.”
Participation includes free admission to the zoo. For details on the Lupus walk, see the accompanying story. The Facebook Events page is: