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Local Mother-Daughter Duo Spearhead Lupus Awareness in New Jersey

Apr 26, 2024
lupus ribbon cutting ceremony cover

In the towns of Harrison, Kearny, and East Newark, New Jersey, awareness of lupus, a challenging and often misunderstood autoimmune disease, is getting a significant boost thanks to the tireless efforts of Kearny resident Elizabeth SantaCruz and her daughter, Miah. Their story not only highlights the personal impact of lupus but also underscores the broader mission of raising awareness and fostering a community equipped to support those affected.

Elizabeth and Miah have been at the forefront of lupus awareness since Miah's diagnosis in 2016, after a perplexing two-year period of unexplained symptoms and visits to numerous doctors. Their journey through the uncertainty of lupus has transformed into a public crusade to illuminate the realities of the disease for others. Their efforts peak each year with lupus awareness ribbon-cutting ceremonies held across multiple locations, timed with Lupus Awareness Month in May.

This year, the SantaCruz duo hosted events at the Harrison Town Hall on April 26, and the Kearny Town Hall on April 27, 2024. An upcoming event is also scheduled for May 10 at the East Newark Borough Hall. These gatherings serve not just as educational forums but as beacons of hope and solidarity. Elizabeth SantaCruz expressed the urgency of their mission, saying, "Lupus is a chronic disease that can damage any part of the body. Symptoms vary widely, which makes it hard to diagnose and understand. We need to bring awareness to lupus and increase visibility so that more people will know about the disease and be more understanding."

Lupus symptoms can include fatigue, fever, joint pain, and rashes, and can affect major organs like the kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. Because these symptoms often mimic other illnesses, lupus is notoriously difficult to diagnose, sometimes taking years for a correct diagnosis. Elizabeth's advocacy is driven by her hope that increased awareness will lead to better research, treatments, and eventually a cure. "As a mom, I am passionate about improving lupus awareness in our community," she shared. "Raising awareness and visibility are essential to creating a culture of understanding and support. I truly believe that we can make a difference as a community and impact future generations."

In addition to local events, the SantaCruz family maintains an active online presence with information available in both English and Spanish on their Facebook page, and through Instagram and Twitter. For those seeking more information about lupus or support, Elizabeth recommends visiting the Lupus Foundation of America at

Through their advocacy, Elizabeth and Miah SantaCruz are not just sharing their story—they're building a community. Each ribbon cut is a call to action, a reminder that while lupus is indeed formidable, the power of informed, compassionate communities is even greater.

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