By Vickie Thomas

DETROIT (WWJ) – WWJ’s Vickie Thomas is hosting an event that helps women feel empowered, and also spreads awareness about a serious disease.

It’s called the “Butterfly Bash” because victims of lupus typically have a rash in the shape of the butterfly, and this Sunday women battling lupus and other diseases will be celebrated.

Sandra Epps, Executive Director of SHE’S Empowered, is a victim of lupus and describes what it can do to the body.

“It attacked my central nervous system, my kidneys and my heart and I was confined to a wheelchair twice. I had to learn how to walk, talk and eat all over again. So, I wanted to get the word out about Lupus and that was the two things that I wanted to do, inspire women to believe in their dreams no matter what they were going through or growing through, and to get the word out about lupus,” said Epps.

Epps established SHE’S Empowered (Sisters Helping Encourage Sisters) based on her past struggles with lupus and the negative impact it had on her self-esteem.

The goal of Butterfly Bash is to provide women with inspiration and knowledge from survivors and professionals, in addition, to create lupus awareness.

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a long-term autoimmune disorder that may affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain and other organs. The underlying cause of the disease is not fully known.

Epps said the butterfly symbolizes the rash that appears on the face of a lupus patient during a “flare up,” but it also represents freedom, hope, prosperity and transformation.

Lupus is much more common in women than men. It may occur at any age, but appears most often in people between the ages of 10 and 50. African Americans and Asians are affected more often than people from other races.

There is no cure for lupus. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.

The event takes place at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit on May 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is $35.

For more information, visit


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