Organizers of the first “Kids Kick Lupus Carnival” held at Central Methodist Church Child Center Friday afternoon were pleased with the turnout at another event designed to increase awareness of the disease.
Carnival Coordinator Barbi Manchester said her son, Corbin, attends pre-school at the church. She said church members approached her because they were interested in supporting a non profit organization and the pieces fell into place. Manchester said a children’s carnival seemed a natural event to bring families together for fun but still emphasize education about Lupus.
“It (Lupus) can affect anyone. We have a three-year old in Pilot Mountain with Lupus and a teen in High Point, who just happens to be here,” said Manchester. “It’s not just the person with the disease. Your support team has to have everyone on the same page for successful treatment and quality of life. Another side effect of Lupus is how it leaves you exhausted. You have to slow down and ask for help making the team even more important for children to have a good life.”
The teen in High Point Manchester was referring to is Becca Hart, Miss High Point Teen USA, who was diagnosed with lupus at age 15.
Hart’s many health problems include hearing loss so bad she had to read lips to communicate, heart problems and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She was there with Mike, her service greyhound, to connect people to the organization Harts 2 Paws which she founded. The organization trains service animals for lupus sufferers. Hart will use Mike in the upcoming Miss Teen USA pageant. This will be the first time a service dog has been in the national pageant.
She explained how Mike had become an unexpected champion for her and can detect problems with her irregular heart beat even though he was not trained to do this. She said this was Mike’s first carnival and he seemed to enjoy it.
“He’s loving this. He’s really a social butterfly,” said Hart. “We started Hearts 2 Paws to help people to be paired up with service dogs. I find myself doing more things in this area. It’s turned into one great big Lupus family. In a few weeks we’ve really become a big family giving me support through emails. People are understanding what I am going through (with Lupus).”
The carnival activities were free but donations were accepted with all proceeds going for research and education by the National Lupus Foundation of America, North Carolina Chapter. Activities included a bake sale, jump house, face painting, the “Sparky” the Mount Airy Fire Department fire dog and The Mount Airy Police Department’s new RTV vehicle.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-719-1952.