Asian org holds fundraiser for Lupus foundation
March 18, 2009 10:22 PM
After experiencing kidney failure three times, fighting cancer of the nervous system and dealing with life threatening infections caused by Lupus disease, Evanne Grate could have slowed down. Instead, she has continued to skateboard, mountain bike, snowboard and play softball while working as a web designer.
She told her story at a fundraiser last Monday at Jack Adams Hall. The fundraiser was hosted by the Asian Student Union to celebrate Women's History Month.
"If it weren't for the overwhelming support of friends, family, medical staff and the big guy in the sky I wouldn't be here today," Grate said.
Roughly $800 was raised at the event, and it will go to the Lupus Foundation of Northern California.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The disease confuses the patients' immune system, which attacks their organs because they recognize it as foreign to their body. There is no cure for this disease that affects mostly women of color.
Her story highlighted a lineup made entirely of female Asian-American performers.
Performances ranged from spoken word to rock music. They included De La Femme, MissCarolinexoxo, Song of the Siren, Rhapsodistas, Vinci, and former ASU member and science teacher Viet-Thi Ta.
Nina Chan, the marketing coordinator and co-chair of ASU, has been organizing the event since December of last year.
"I always wanted to do an event strictly for Asian-American women," the graphic design major said.
For Chan, the event was more than just another performance on campus. She came up with the idea, secured the venue, found the Lupus foundation, convinced most of the performers to do it free and even designed the flyer. "I thought it would be very good to highlight Asian women in a very positive light, because in the media they are portrayed as submissive," Chen said. "As an Asian-American female myself, I wanted to show leadership and empowerment."
Cindy Chan was the other speaker at the event. The SF State graduate was diagnosed in 1992 as she was teaching her first year at the university.
I had to give up my dream of teaching," Chan said. She had to stop teaching because it was too demanding for her condition, she said.
"Even though I have Lupus I haven't stopped living, I am still an activist. I still want women going forward in their lives." Chan said. "My identity is not Lupus, I am just a person who has Lupus."
People like MJ Suba know this all too well. Suba, the fundraiser organizer for the foundation, is affected by the disease and began working with the foundation to help others like her.
"You get a real sense of accomplishment. It's pretty scary situation, but being able to direct [people] to the resources helps ease the anxiety and fear, specially when the patient knows that I am affected by it," said Suba, a San Jose native.
"My motivation, which is actually my purpose, is to spread awareness about Lupus," Grate said, explaining her motivation for speaking at the event. If the reaction by attendees to her speech is an indicator, Grate achieved her purpose.
"It was really empowering and raising awareness about Lupus was definitively a plus," said Katie Yang, an Asian-American studies major.
"Them telling their story affected me," said Lisa Voong, who is majoring in international business and Chinese. "It was sad and empowering because they were really affected by Lupus, but they are all so strong about it."
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