Volunteer Takes Lupus Awareness Overseas
Soldier Creates His Own 5K Event during Deployment in Kuwait
After attending the 2010 Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run, Joseph LeCuyer swore he’d never miss the annual event. But he wasn’t there in 2011. Duty called.
LeCuyer’s deployment with the Minnesota National Guard to Kuwait prevented him from attending the annual September Walk/5K fundraisers for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, where he’d normally run and raise funds in honor of his wife Jessica who has lupus. So, he’s created his own.
The Lupus 5K Run-Kuwait will take place on Wednesday, December 21 at Ali Al Salem Air Base just outside of Kuwait City. Over 230 participants are expected. LeCuyer hopes to raise awareness of the chronic autoimmune disease among his comrades.
Deployed since July, LeCuyer continually worries about his wife back in Mounds View. “I ask Jessica everyday ‘how are you feeling today?’” he says. “Some days she struggles to get out of bed. Other days she may feel almost normal. But normal for someone with lupus, still means pain. She is my warrior. She fights every day of her life.”
It’s that admiration and concern for his wife and others with lupus that drove him to organize this 5K. “Having someone so close to me with lupus has empowered me to get active and involved. The event is intended to create awareness of this disease. I want to do something to help destroy lupus. I believe if I can get knowledge of this out to people, it could ultimately lead to better research and treatments.”
With the help of the USO, the event will feature the run itself, along with the distribution of lupus awareness bands, Lupus Foundation of Minnesota educational materials and even some LFM Walk/5K t-shirts and water bottles.
“This event is very important and close to the heart of LeCuyer,” says USO Camp LSA Center Manager Piper Hardin, “so we wanted to support him by doing what it takes to make the event a reality and a success. In line with our mission to ‘lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families,’ hosting a lupus awareness 5K allows us to meet the very present needs of a deployed service member, while also letting his wife know we care about her as well.”
“We here at the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota are humbled by Joseph’s willingness to raise lupus awareness while he’s already giving so much by serving our country,” says LFM President Jennifer Monroe. “Even from half-way around the world Joe’s kindness and generosity exceeds all expectations.”
LFM has established an event page through their Facebook page (facebook.com/lupusmn) where supporters can contact LeCuyer, offer words of encouragement to Lupus 5K Run-Kuwait participants, and will eventually see photos from the event itself.
LeCuyer hopes to return home to Minnesota in May – in plenty of time for the 2012 Lupus Walk for Hope and 5K Run-Twin Cities on September 8 at French Regional Park in Plymouth.
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