S.L.E. Lupus Foundation – In the Neighborhoods

“We Are Family”

 The Lupus Cooperative of New York, Bronx and Brooklyn Centers are both celebrating historic anniversaries this year; Bronx just marked its tenth year while Brooklyn is commemorating five years. And both programs have benefited from the consistency provided by the original outreach coordinators – Yasmin Santiago in the Bronx and Tayumika Zurita in Brooklyn as well as many of the same “veteran” patients. Both divisions provide support groups, educational workshops, self-management classes, exercise sessions, and assistance with grants and public programs. Yasmin and Tayumika meet yearly with New York City Council members to help secure city funding for lupus care.

Serving the Bronx for Over a Decade
Starting with just over 100 members 10 years ago, The Bronx Division of the Lupus Cooperative, a program of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation has helped more than 1,000 people with lupus.

“Why I am here for so long? Because, born and raised in the South Bronx I want to give back to my community and because I have become so attached to my clients,” commented Yasmin. 

On May 2 clients gathered in the Bronx office to celebrate 10 years of service.

Happy 5th Birthday Brooklyn
Since opening in 2007, the co-op has helped to dramatically increase lupus public awareness in Brooklyn through outreach to hospitals, community organizations and healthcare professionals. Most notably, the co-op is proud of having helped increase the number of people correctly diagnosed and treated by referring patients with common symptoms to local rheumatologists. 

Tayumika coordinated the development of the accredited Lupus Aquatics Program with the Occupational Therapy Program of Long Island University which resulted in an immediate increase in patient mobility and decrease in joint and muscle pain.

“I stay simply because I truly care for the clients that I work with,” said Tayumika.

Her attachment to the clients is mutual; many gathered on June 19 for a 5th anniversary party complete with cake and decorations.

One word resounded throughout the celebration – FAMILY – that people with lupus have found at the support group.