Jan. 05, 2018

Every Step Counts

Finding out that your teenage daughter has been diagnosed with lupus is a terrible thing. Finding out when you’re in the hospital being treated for lupus yourself is unimaginable.

That’s what happened to George Mora, 42, of Tampa, Florida. He was diagnosed with lupus nephritis in March 2016, after spending a week undergoing tests in the VA Hospital. His 16-year-old daughter Catlyn was diagnosed with lupus a month later.

It’s also why the family’s Walk to End Lupus Now® team has a “2” in it: ‘2 Mora Steps Closer to a Cure.’ As for the rest of the catchy title, George explains that when he was growing up, people would jokingly say, “Hey, can I get one Mora?”

“We were kind of playing on that,” he says.

The Moras’ fundraising for the Walk grew exponentially in 2017, its second year—thanks in large part to a stranger.

“My sister-in-law works for an individual who owns a racetrack in Ocala, Florida,” George says. “She asked him if we could set up a booth at a big dirt car race early last spring so we could have a raffle fundraiser for our Walk team, and he agreed. He even provided a flat screen TV to include in the raffle! It was a wonderful gesture from him. And by being held early in the year, the event kick-started a lot of other folks to get their fundraising efforts started.”

Mora’s advice to others on fundraising is, “No is just a word—don’t be afraid of hearing it. You will also often be surprised by people’s willingness to help.” 

Today, Catlyn’s lupus is under control and she’s back at school, taking honors classes and doing well. George has had a harder time, due to medication side effects and lupus itself. “I have to be cautious of what I do now,” he says.”I can’t just be, like, ‘Come on, let’s go, let’s do this.’ There are so many things I’m still learning about my body.”

But he’s also learned that healing comes from outside himself as well. From his employer, who helped him both financially and by making changes to his job duties so he no longer has to travel. From his wife and his 23-year-old son, who comforted him and Catlyn during the dark early days of their diagnoses. From his sister-in-law, Paula, who asked to be the captain for their Walk team although she had no experience in fundraising.

And then there are all the people who attend the Walk events.

“Seeing the friends and family supporting their loved ones with lupus is a great feeling,” George says. “We even have friends and families who have lost their loved one to lupus and still attend the Walk to continue the support for a cure. The positivity and the spirit of our fellow lupus warriors keeps Catlyn and me motivated to keep moving forward.”

The Spring Walk to End Lupus Now® season is NOW OPEN. Find a Walk in your community and register today to feel the power of the movement to end lupus.