Southeast Missouri Calendar Girls

Southeast Missouri Calendar Girls
By: Holly Brantley

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - A group of ladies in Southeast Missouri are striking a pose for Lupus. 
It's a disease that's robbed them of their health but not their spunk!  They are part of about 40 women who are members of the Lupus Support Group.  They meet at the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.  Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can strike in a number of ways.
They've put together an eye catching 2008 calendar with messages to teach others about Lupus.
"We want people to know how it's affected our lives and the lives of our families," said Lora Clark.
There are many symptoms of Lupus, but the ladies say extreme fatigue, sunlight sensitivity, and pain are among the worst.
"If you can get diagnosed at an early age, it will help you," said Clark. "You won't have as much damage to the body."
Most of the money raised will go directly to research for a cure.  They say posing for the calendar is a symbol of the brave fight of people with Lupus.
"It takes courage for ladies our age to put ourselves out there," said Karen Slicer. "I did it for my friends here and for my daughter."
Slicer's 29-year-old daughter Lorelei Yates also has Lupus.  She was diagnosed a year ago and appears in the calendar.
Miss February, 71-year-old Arlene Webb, doesn't have Lupus, but she posed for her daughter, Lora Clark.  Clark is Miss June and Miss November.
"I don't have time to be sick," said Clark. "But this disease doesn't allow you that time."
"I do it because we want a cure.  I'm not ready to sit and quit," said Joann Hutcheson.
Hutcheson's passion is shared by each lady in the group.
"We want this to be educational," said Clark. "We want to find a cure now."
They want you to see the faces of Lupus.  While they appear to be healthy, they say you can't imagine the pain they sometimes live with.  So for every family affected by the disease, they pose in the calendar, not only to raise money, but to offer support to others who live with Lupus.
"Don't give up," said Clark. "At times you want to but you can't give up.  Don't let it take away your life."
Calendars cost $10.  Eight dollars goes directly to the National Lupus foundation ear marked only for research.
For more information call Karen Slicer: 573-785-2802; Lora Clark: 573-686-2186, or Joann Hutcheson.
The ladies are happy to help you with more information about Lupus or buying a calendar to help raise awareness and find a cure.