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100 join walk in Sandakan in support of lupus patients
Published on: Sunday, September 09, 2018

Sandakan: Over 100 people from all walks of life supported the cause of lupus patients on the tracks of the Sandakan Sports Complex Stadium, Saturday, by walking with their umbrellas wide open.

They did so in a bid to create awareness about the plight of lupus sufferers and their need for constant protection from the sun.

The money collected through participation fees and straight donations went toward funding subsidiary treatment for lupus sufferers at Hospital Duchess of Kent. OCBC Al-Amin had kicked off the donation drive by contributing RM20,000.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus, for short) is an unpredictable chronic autoimmune disease that gives rise to unusual levels of antibodies circulating in a patient's blood, targeting his or her own body tissues. It affects different parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, blood, joints and skin.

Among those who joined the walk, which began at 6.30am, were staff of OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad (OCBC Al-Amin), members of Persatuan SLE Malaysia (PSLEM) Sabah Chapter, SLE patients and their families, medical personnel of Hospital Duchess of Kent and a myriad others.

The Walk-a-Payung Lupus Family Day was organised by PSLEM and sponsored by OCBC Al-Amin, which opened its first branch in Sandakan in 2015. The event participants walked a total of 3km from the Sandakan Sports Complex Stadium to the Asrama where they listened to a talk on SLE by President of PSLEM Sabah Chapter, Dr Eleen Chong, who is a rheumatologist practising in Kota Kinabalu.

According to Dr Eleen Chong, the family day was all about bringing PSLEM's members and their families together for a shared experience and to feel valued.

"Through this event, we also sought to raise funds for the Chapter which currently has about 300 registered members. "This Walk-A-Payung would be the third to be held in Sandakan, with a focus on promoting awareness on the autoimmune disorder that could cause severe damage to human tissues and organs.

"It is important for the public to be more aware about the disease, including its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in order to get an earlier diagnosis and proper management of the disorder," she said.

Persatuan SLE Malaysia (PSLEM), a non-profit, charitable organisation formed in 1994, provides social and psychological support for people suffering from life threatening lupus. Its work is funded by corporate donors and individual well-wishers and it is recognised by the Government as a charity body. Donations to the association are tax-exempt.

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