published August 29, 2013
Co-chairs committed to Walk/5K in Duluth
“It is important to us because it enables us to be proactive in fighting this insidious disease,” says Lois Backscheider of the event she and fellow lupus fighter Jody Anderson co-chair. “In this way, those of us with lupus are able to take control of, and fight back against, the disease we battle daily.”
Since its launch in 2011, the Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run in Duluth has been championed by this dynamic pair. Lois, a retired school administrator and Jody, a recently retired nonprofit program director, have been an integral part in bringing the annual fundraising event to the area.
“Community outreach through education about lupus is important to us,” Jody says. “The Walk/5K affords us this high-profile opportunity. It raises awareness of lupus within our community.”
In other, lower profile ways, Duluth Support Group facilitator Jody and members of the group had been spearheading a lupus presence in the Duluth area for a while by taking part in health fairs, expos and the arthritis walk. It was their engagement around these events that spurred the group’s interest in a Walk/5K for the Duluth area and discussions with LFM began in 2009.
“With the help of LFM’s expertise, gained through their Twin Cities and Rochester events, we held our inaugural Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run in Duluth in 2011,” says Lois. “Each year the event has increased in size. Through the event we help to spread awareness of lupus and to raise funds for research for a cure.”
“By working closely with LFM on the Walk/5K, our group has a sense of becoming part of an organizational whole and a sense of the big picture regarding lupus. LFM has given our group a focus, resources and knowledge,” say Lois.
Both diagnosed with lupus in 2006, Jody and Lois are surprised by the impact of lupus within the Duluth area. “So many people know someone who has lupus. Knowing someone with the disease provides a connection that encourages people to help,” she says.
Many volunteers show their support each year. “Families and friends have been integral to the success of our Walk/5K. They volunteer before, during and after the event, lending a hand and moral support where and when needed,” Jody remarks.
“The Duluth community has been extremely supportive of our Walk/5K, especially given the fact that we are a relatively small community,” Lois shares. “Grandma’s Sports Garden and Event Center and Miner’s, Inc., the parent company of SuperOne Foods, have been especially generous, as have been countless individuals and businesses.”
But it all started and continues to run with committed volunteers Jody and Lois taking the helm. “These two are our eyes and ears in Duluth, pointing us to possible sponsors, distributing materials, outreaching to those in need, educating the broader public, coordinating meetings and countless significant and meaningful efforts,” says LFM President Jennifer Monroe. “The success of the Duluth Walk/5K would not be possible without their assistance. They really are champions by our side, helping us raise funds, awareness and providing support.”
Don’t miss the this year’s third annual Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run – Duluth which kicks off at Grandma’s Sports Garden and Event Center on October 5. Register today for Duluth or for Walk/5K events in the Twin Cities on September 14 or Rochester on September 28. More details on each event are available at the links above.