When Snoop Dogg's 11-year-old daughter Cori was diagnosed with Lupus, he and his wife, Shante Broadus, had never heard of the fatal disease that affects more than 1.5 million people.
"Shante and I cried 1,000 times" Snoop told People Magazine.
In an exclusive interview with People Magazine, July 8th issue, Snoop and the Broadus family describe how fighting the disease actually brought their family closer together. "In the beginning, lupus was winning, but now Cori is," Snoop told People. On learning that African Americans are more susceptible to the disease, the Broadus family decided to fight lupus together. "Cori's lupus showed us we need to be together forever." Snoop told People.
More than 1.5 million Americans have lupus. That is more than have AIDS, cerebral palsy, ms, sickle-cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, making lupus one of the country's most prevalent medical problems.
"The body becomes allergic to itself," says Dr. Daniel Wallace, founder of Lupus LA, the non-profit organization dedicated to support research for a cure and find better treatments for those diagnosed with lupus. As Executive Director of Lupus LA, we have worked closely with Dr. Wallace, Adam Selkowitz, Chairman of Lupus LA and many others as foot soldiers in the war Snoop and family is leading against Lupus on behalf of the millions who have this difficult disease.
While not as well known as other autoimmune diseases, Lupus is a very serious, chronic, life threatening autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any organ of the body. African Americans are 4 times more susceptible to lupus than Caucasians.
90% of those diagnosed with lupus are women between 15 and 45 years of age. It is the leading cause of stroke, heart and kidney disease in women. Lupus can also strike men, older adults and children, in fact, the numbers of lupus cases seen in children is increasing.
Because symptoms of the disease vary from patient to patient, lupus can be difficult to recognize. It causes inflammation of various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys, extreme fatigue, joint pain, kidney, heart, lung and blood dysfunction.
Lupus patients can be extremely sun sensitive resulting in skin rashes on the face, neck, hands and arms. In fact in Cori's case, she was six when her Mom, Shante, noticed a spot on her face after spending the day in the sun at the pool. More spots appeared and Cori began losing weight and losing her hair.
After months of searching out medical advice, doctors told Shante and Snoop their daughter had lupus. As a family, they reached out to Lupus LA and found a powerful ally in their fight against lupus, embracing our organization.
Shante was among the top fundraisers for Team Life Without Lupus, the first-ever lupus team for the LA Marathon. Shante's company, Boss Lady Entertainment, sponsored the first "Get Lucky for Lupus" Poker tournament in February. Shante and husband Snoop Dogg joined 600 other supporters at the Lupus LA Orange Ball this May, hosted by George Lopez, elevating the stature of our fundraising event and increasing media attention to the cause. And last week, Shante thrilled us by joining the Board of Lupus LA, helping us lead efforts to provide patient services, raise research funds, plan events, and help overall in serving the needs of people with systemic lupus in Los Angeles County and beyond.
Adam and I recognize the tremendous input and influence Shante will bring to Lupus LA. The commitment the Broadus family has made to the fight against Lupus is critically important to the success of our organization -- and we know that they will have a huge impact on Lupus awareness worldwide.
Since the story broke in People Magazine, our site has received over 6,000 hits from people interested in knowing more about the disease. The story was added to People.com and to their twitter account. And we have received over 100 "letters to Cori"(see below) on our website, asking her about her courage and united family front in fighting this disease. Thank you to the Broadus family and the connection they have found with us at Lupus LA uniting community support, action and their star power joining forces encouraging research for a cure and better quality of life for all Lupus patients.