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Autoimmune Disease Weekend Set for St. Louis

Forum and Awareness Walk Among Activities

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Newswise — The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) and Washington University will host an Autoimmune Disease Weekend on the university’s St. Louis campus. On October 5th, a “What Every American Needs to Know About Autoimmune Disease” forum will be held in the Connor Auditorium inside of the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center located at 520 S Euclid Avenue. Registration is free and includes lunch. On Sunday, October 6th, an Autoimmune Disease Fundraising Walk in the Brookings Quad with registration beginning at noon will be hosted. There will be a silent auction featuring gift cards to area stores and restaurants.

This year, AARDA is proud to partner with the Vasculitis Foundation, the Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation, and the National Adrenal Diseases Foundation for all of its 2013 walks.

After witnessing many of their family and friends struggle with a variety of autoimmune diseases that include multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease, Washington University students, Emily Kenney and Melanie Holmgren, initiated the Walk. Emily’s mother, Tracie, was officially diagnosed with lupus in 2010 after being symptomatic for fifteen years. Doctors had originally diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis.

“Last Spring, I initiated the Walk after realizing the lack of medical knowledge in the area of autoimmune diseases. I researched various non-for-profit organizations online, looking at their ratings and use of funds. AARDA came at the top of my list. Rather than a lupus walk, I decided to do an on campus walk for all autoimmune diseases so that it would affect a larger portion of the St. Louis population and campus body. I have experienced autoimmune diseases beyond my mom's experience, and although she was my source of motivation and purpose, the research for autoimmune diseases has a very common link and I wanted to acknowledge this research fact, as well as include more of my loved ones,” says Emily.

To register for the free “What Every American Needs to Know About Autoimmune Disease” forum, please visit For additional details about the Missouri Walk, to join a Walk or to start your own, please visit

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is the nation's only non-profit organization dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity as a category of disease and a major women's health issue and promoting a collaborative research effort in order to find better treatments and a cure for all autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit

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