Julian Lennon Lends Support to Fight Lupus

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Julian Lennon is the official patron of St. Thomas Lupus’ Trust, a charity that is dedicated to fighting lupus. Lennon decided to lend support to the cause after the death of his childhood friend Lucy Vodden, who was the inspiration behind "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," from lupus.

Lucy died at age 46 from lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy tissue because it cannot tell the difference between harmful invaders and healthy tissue. This damage can occur anywhere in the body, including the skin, joints, and any of the internal organs. It is a chronic condition, as signs and symptoms last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

Because lupus can affect any number of places in the body, every person who has the disease is affected differently. However, the most common symptoms of lupus include extreme fatigue, headache, painful joints, fever, anemia, swelling in the extremities and around the eyes, butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks, hair loss, mouth or nose ulcers, photosensitivity, and fingers that turn blue or white when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon).

It is estimated that at least 5 million people around the world have lupus, and it most often affects women ages 15 to 44. Women of color are two to three times more likely to get the disease.

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Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening, and most people (80-90%) who develop the disease can expect to lead a full life, according to the Foundation. Infrequently, as in the case of Lucy Vodden, it can kill. The most common causes of death in people with lupus are overwhelming infection and kidney failure. Heart disease may also be a significant cause of death.

According to a story reported in the Huffington Post in September 2009, Lucy was not especially fond of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” but she did enjoy her link to the Beatles.

Angie Davidson, campaign director of the St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust, notes that Julian Lennon has “been a big supporter of the trust since he found out his friend Lucy was ill. We’re very lucky to have him.” The lyrics to the song describe a painting that Julian created at nursery school, where Lucy was also in his class.

Anyone who would like more information about lupus can visit the website for the St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust, which has videos about lupus and a video of Julian Lennon and James Scott Cook, in which they ask people to support lupus research. The Lupus Foundation of America also offers informational videos.

SOURCES:
Lupus Foundation of America
St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust
UK Telegraph

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