Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Mahfood donates to lupus awareness

Published:Monday | September 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer

WISYNCO Chairman William Mahfood has responded to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by donating a whopping $250,000 to the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica to push the awareness of the disease and highlight its impact locally.

"We thought it was appropriate to look at what are the diseases that are more relevant in the Jamaican context. Our research revealed that ALS is not as prevalent here," said Mahfood.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease characterised by a degeneration of motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

HIGHEST RATES

"However, ALS falls within a group of autoimmune diseases that include systemic lupus erythematosus, and Jamaica has one of the highest rates in the world," he added.

The Lupus Foundation of Jamaica is a voluntary, non-profit organisation that aims to improve the outcome of systemic lupus erythematosus through its education and patient-support programmes and by enabling and encouraging research in the treatment and diagnosis of lupus.

The autoimmune disease affects one in 250 Jamaicans.

Desiree Tulloch-Reid, president of the Lupus Foundation, has expressed thanks to Wisynco for its generous donation that will help to increase awareness of the disease.

"This financial contribution will mean so much to us in our work to raise awareness of lupus in our communities so we can have earlier diagnosis and treatment, and continue to provide the support system for persons living with lupus," said Tulloch-Reid.

Mahfood called on corporate Jamaica and others to take up the challenge and support the Lupus Foundation.

"We hope, through this exercise, we can help to raise public awareness and help those with lupus learn how to manage their condition," Mahfood said.