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By Mary E. Arata

AYER — “Put on Purple Day” takes place this Friday, May 18 to mark World Lupus Awareness Day. It’s all to educate the public about the disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. Fifty nine percent of the population knows nothing of the disease, according to the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA).

May is Lupus Awareness Month. On May 10, the Ayer Board of Selectmen unanimously signed-off on a citation proclaiming May 2012 as Lupus Awareness Month in the town of Ayer.

Symptoms can vary or be combined. Some telltale signs may include: swollen, stiff, and painful joints, fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, fatigue, rashes on the skin and/or sensitivity to the sun, swelling around the ankles, chest pain with deep breaths, unusual hair loss, pale or purple fingers from cold or stress, or mouth ulcers, often painless

Learn more about Lupus by visiting the LFA’s Web site at

The selectmen’s proclamation reads:

Whereas Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause severe damage to the tissue and organs in the body and, in some cases, death; and

Whereas more than five million people worldwide suffer the devastating effects of this disease and each year over a hundred thousand young women, men and children are newly diagnosed with Lupus, the great majority of whom are women of childbearing age; and

Whereas medical research efforts into Lupus and the discovery of safer, more effective treatments for Lupus patients are under-funded in comparison with diseases of comparable magnitude and severity; and

Whereas many physicians worldwide are unaware of symptoms and health effects of Lupus, causing people with Lupus to suffer for many years before they obtain a correct diagnosis and medical treatment; and

Whereas there is a deep, unmet need worldwide to educate and support individuals and families affected by Lupus; and

Whereas there is an urgent need to increase awareness in communities worldwide of the debilitating impact of Lupus;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that May 18, 2012 is hereby designated as World Lupus Awareness Day on which Lupus organizations around the globe call for increases in public and private sector funding for medical research on Lupus, targeted education programs for health professionals, patients and the public and worldwide recognition of Lupus as a significant public health issue.

[And] The Ayer Board of Selectmen proclaim May 2012 as Lupus Awareness Month in the town of Ayer.

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