Audrey James Anenih, staff writer
Beverly’s Interact Club partnered with Lupus LA to raise $3,089 as of Wednesday, March 19. The two groups helped organize multiple events to benefit those impacted by Lupus.
Every dollar went toward raising awareness, as well as helping fund research dedicated to finding a cure for the disease. Interact members began with a fundraising goal of $1,000 and earned doubled the amount in less than two weeks.
Megan Hatch, Special Events Manager of Lupus LA, was appreciative of student support for the organization.
“This is my second year working with the BHHS Interact Club, and it has been so much fun. The enthusiasm and support of the students means a lot to us, and really helps us spread awareness about lupus,” she said.
In addition to the 5K walk on March 8, Lupus LA and the Interact Club also participated in the 29th Asics Los Angeles Marathon the following day.
“Since last year, when I took over BHHS Interact and partnered with Lupus LA, I [have] truly appreciated how the Lupus LA Team looks after my fellow members as if they were a part of the family and includes them in everything at the different events,” Interact Club president Nicole Sayegh said.
The Interact Club felt an immediate connection with the disease. The club has been influenced to take individual action to support the search for a cure.
“Lupus LA has actually held a special place in the hearts of our Beverly Hills Rotary Club for several years, ever since Gillian, the daughter of the Rotarian Alan and Michelle Kaye, was diagnosed with the disease. Every year, we try to help them out any way we can,” Sayegh said.
After participating in these events, Sayegh was able to become more passionate about the advocacy for this disease.
“Honestly, the members of the charity are some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Most of them have to be on bed rest for several weeks in a month because the disease practically ravages their body from inside out,” Sayegh said. “However, they never let that stop them from living a fulfilling life. Most of them will actually run the marathon, which is amazing.”
Although Lupus is not widely covered in popular media, symptoms can severely affect the lives of those affected by it.
“Lupus can and has affected the lives of millions of women, men, and children worldwide. As well, I’ve actually found myself surprised with how many people know someone affected by Lupus; just last week I found out that a close family friend has Lupus,” Sayegh said.
Rotary Club members and Interact volunteers from across the district spread the word by promoting fundraising links via social media. Interact also partnered with a local business to support the foundation.
“Rotarian Shawn Saeedian, owner of the Beverly Hills Market and Deli, generously supported the cause again this year by donating products to people participating in the marathon, as well as spectators” Sayegh said.
Sayegh is proud of Interact members for their devotion to both Lupus LA and the community at large. Interact’s success with their efforts toward the support of Lupus LA can be attributed to donations raised both online and physically, as well as their dedication and commitment to the cause.