is a non-collegiate, disease oriented, professional and social organization that promotes sisterhood, advocacy, education and community outreach. Becoming a Glamorous Woman of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. is a lifetime commitment. Each member plays an intricate role in ensuring that Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. thrives within the Lupus and Greek communities. Our primary goal is to “Unmask the Faces of Lupus” by being a voice for our fellow Lupus Warriors and making sure that the world as a whole gets to “KNOW Lupus to Say NO Lupus”.
“The fear we do not face will become our personal limitations. Our struggles today will develop the strength we need tomorrow. HELP each other. (Heal experiences through love and positivity)”
Gamma Pi Rho
September 20, 2020
Las Vegas, Nevada
Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority’s mission is to focus on improving the quality of life for all individuals diagnosed and affected by Lupus and to provide programs of support, foster educational opportunities, empower members to advocate and raise awareness. All while establishing relationships, upholding leadership, building a sisterly bond, and making an impact not just within the Lupus community but throughout the world. Education and advocacy go hand in hand, and we will ensure that you know Lupus to say no to Lupus.
Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority was founded in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 20, 2020 by The Great Eight (8): Autumn Austin (NV), Shalisha Parker (AZ), Deon Wallace Jones (AZ), Lavita Williams (IL), Lashon Gurrola (IL), Tamika Marshall (NV), Latonia Williams, (NC) and Jade Caine (NV). Composed of women who have been diagnosed with Lupus, amongst other illnesses, Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority is dedicated to raising awareness about the illness by educating our local communities as well as the nation. We strive to make a difference in the lives of our fellow Lupus Warriors and our communities via our three pillars: Education, Support, and Service.
Lupus has a detrimental effect on the individuals it attacks; unfortunately, it also has an effect on the loved ones of these same people. The impact of lupus extends beyond the physical and emotional toll it takes on the individuals diagnosed with the disease. Loved ones often experience feelings of helplessness and worry as they witness their family member or friend struggle with lupus’s unpredictable symptoms.
Additionally, the burden of caring for and supporting their loved ones through medical appointments and treatments can also take a toll on their own well-being. Because of this, Gamme Pi Rho Lupus Sorority Inc. has decided to create auxiliary memberships that specifically address the needs of the younger population of newly diagnosed young ladies, the older population of women affected by Lupus, and family members of those living with Lupus. Our hope is that we can provide education, support, and resources for these individuals as well as a community that comes together seeking and sharing so no one feels alone or left behind.
A resident of North Las Vegas, Nevada, Autumn Austin, completed her Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Business Management and Administration with a specialty in Marketing from University of Phoenix. A daily fight with Lupus coupled with her being a wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 4, working a full time job, holding the Executive Director position with Colors of Lupus Nevada (a nonprofit organization), and owning her own business is nothing short of amazing and makes her a “Woman of Worth”. Autumn was diagnosed with SLE on December 24, 2012, it was her gift from Santa. As a person diagnosed with Lupus, Autumn strives to bring Lupus to the forefront; trying to engage more on a personal level with the Lupus Community opposed to larger organizations. Autumn doesn’t look at Lupus as her curse but as her blessing as it allows her to help others through this difficult journey. Autumn fights everyday one day at a time!!
Lavita Williams is disabled, but has her bachelors degree in Business administration from Robert Morris University in Waukegan IL, with a concentration in management, also a Certified Nurses Assistant Certificate from the College Of Lake County Grayslake, IL which she received July 1989. She’s married to her husband for 9 years and is a mother of two biological sons who are 26 and 24. LaVita also has two stepsons who are 18 and16, and an adopted daughter, that she adopted from birth, who is now 6yrs old. Lavita was diagnosed with (SLE) lupus December 2009, even though the doctors felt like she may have had it her whole life. From 2006, until present, she has had significant problems. Lavita worked since she was 14 but she lost her job, February 2010 due to this horrible disease. Lupus never comes alone, it can bring a few other diseases with it. She also suffers from Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s, ankylosing spondylitis, and P.O.T.S. Syndrome. Her fight is every day, she is not only a warrior, but a soldier, in this battle against Lupus. She will always fight, and stand, to be an advocate to help find a cure.
Latonia R. Williams lives in Durham, N.C. with her husband of 35 years. She has a 34 year old daughter, a 33 year old son and 3 grandkids. She was showing all the signs and symptoms of Lupus back in 1998. After going to the doctor for what she thought was a broken wrist, she was referred to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed her with SLE Lupus in 2003. She suffers from other illness, had to have two wrist fusions and see a variety of specialist to help her cope with her day to day living. She was able to work even with Lupus up until 2015 when it became hard to do her job, so she had to medically retired. At first it was hard to accept not being able to work and she was depressed and felt unworthy. She joined multiple organizations to keep her busy, but once she became an advocate for finding a cure for Lupus she truly accepted the fact that she has Lupus and have a purpose. She advocates, not only for herself but for everyone that has this terrible disease. She wants everyone to know we are in this together, "And it's ok to not be ok!"
Tamika Marshall has resided in Las Vegas, Nevada since 2010. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, she has one daughter, three sons and a grandson. Tamika displayed Lupus signs and symptoms after the premature birth of her third child in 2006, but her confirmation of the disease did not come until the birth of her last child in 2009. Since being diagnosed, she has suffered through two heart attacks, one stroke, beat ovarian & cervical cancer, countless surgeries, and hospitalizations for various Lupus related issues. Tamika was forced to leave the medical field of over 15 years after suffering the second heart attack. Her first-year home was horrible and caused major depression and anxiety. She knew she needed to do something more with her life. Tamika started Versatile Woman. Developing her own vegan body product line of soaps, body wash, body oil & more, manufacturing candles and even becoming a Certified Event Management Planner. She is learning to love herself again, understanding that it is ok to be true to yourself, enjoys time with her people who value her worth and loves being a part of an amazing sisterhood. Her favorite quote reads: “You are BEAUTIFUL. Never forget that. In a world of 7.1 billion people, there is only one YOU. Take care of you because the world needs you.”
LaShon Gurrola , Registered Nurse for the past 23 years. Graduated from College of Dupage with a ADN nursing degree and later attended Purdue University to obtain her BSN. She has clinical experience in transitional care management as RN Care Manager, and inpatient surgical nurse for 21 years. She was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) in March 2010. She is very involved and active in the Lupus Community in Chicago as an educator, mentor and advocate. She started a Lupus Support group in 2018 at Rush University Medical Center and serves as the facilitator to help others learn about the illness and how to teach lupus warriors how to advocate for themselves. She currently serves on the Associate Board of Lupus Society of Illinois. She is a 2020 Fellow of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership where she brings a voice to the disability community. She has dedicated herself to Lupus Advocacy, Awareness and Education and serves as the Advocacy & Education Chair of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority Inc. where overseeing events and fundraising is her main focus,along with offering meaningful educational opportunities for the community.
La'Sheldria was born in Bessemer, Al but raised in Mannheim Germany. She has spent nearly half of her life in Germany which she calls home. She currently resides in Litchfield Park, Az with her family. LaSheldria is a wife, mother, grandmother, and small business owner. She loves to travel and help empower women and be a big sister to children. La'Sheldria was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus in June 1996 six weeks after giving birth to her 2nd child. Although she has faced many obstacles, she has remained true and passionate about being an advocate and educator of lupus while continuing her fight for a cure. Two quotes she loves are: "She believed she could so she did" and "What is coming is better than what's gone".
Jade was born in Detroit Michigan raised and immersed into African-American Methodist Church home early on. At the age of 13 she was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis due to chronic pain stiffness and swelling of her limbs several months later was then confirmed to have Systemic Ethermyosis Lupus in January of 2001. She spent her teenage age years fairly isolated trying to understand having a chronic illness at such a young age. She has had many trials due to Lupus and is always very determined to succeed any odds put in front of her. Soon after graduating high school she continued her education becoming Certified in A+ Computer repair, Cisco Networking and Nursing Assisting where she worked in Nursing for the next 10 years. She has been passionately advocating for Lupus for the past 6 years starting in her hometown with Lupus Detroit organization. In 2015 she relocated to Las Vegas in hopes and being more active in her healthcare. She was immediately welcomed with open arms to the Colors of Lupus Nevada non-profit organization. She currently serves as Administrative Director while continuing her education in Hospitality Management. An also works in Member Services, owns and operates Footprintz Creations crafting unique homegoods. She Is a proud mother of two children. An she also enjoys planning, crafting and, cooking. She is so very excited to be a Founding member of this trailblazing Greek lettered organization while also diligently working on the events and fundraising committee of the operational board. her goals include continuously doing her her part in the local community educating an advocating and raising her voice nationally to be a part of the solution striving to find a cure for Lupus while keeping faith that God will make a way for us all until there's a cure.
Althea is a master of many paths. Her life’s journey has been re-routed multiple times due to a chronic illness that has no cure however, it never stopped her from accomplishing any educational achievements. She has a Child Development Associate Credential, a B.A. in Family Life Education and M.A. in Organizational Management. Althea does not have any biological children of her own but has a host of nieces and nephews and 1 fur baby. She was diagnosed with SLE Lupus in March of 1990 with Lupus nephritis. Additional complications as result of her diagnosis include but are not limited to lupus cerebritis, gastroparesis, interstitial lung disease, Sjogren’s syndrome as well as additional ongoing issues. Lupus is not easy and Althea works on fortifying her mental and emotional health to assist with her physical fight with Lupus. Althea implements the words of her late track coach Mr. Richard Ford “You got this ham”. Althea battles the war with Lupus every day and will not stop in promoting, advocating and educating the public about the severity of lupus.
Jeanette Pizarro-Harpe is a Trailblazer member of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. She is of Puerto Rican heritage, born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Like her father, she enlisted in the US Marine Corps. She served during Desert Storm from 1991 -1998 and was honorably discharged in 1998 as a Sgt. She then earned her Technical Diploma in Network Engineering & Data Communications, her AAS in Digital Arts & Animation, and her BA in Multimedia Arts & Design. Jeanette was diagnosed with SLE in 2018 after years of fighting to find out what was wrong with her, only to learn about the monster lurking inside. Jeanette currently lives in Texas with her soulmate, Retired (USMC) GySgt Darius Harpe; they share 5 children. She is retired from government service, ending with the Dept of the Interior, US Fish & Wildlife Service as an Administrative Officer. She is a multimedia artist and author of a memoir titled: Camouflaged Shame (Uncensored) - A Path to Redemption After Military Sexual Trauma. Jeanette sees the importance of giving back. Her way of doing so is by providing information and support where she can. She is a member of the media & marketing team for both Gamma Pi Rho and Colors of Lupus NV. She is also a member of the Women Marines Association and the Disabled American Veterans.
Kristi Riley is a resident of Durham, North Carolina. She is a retired military veteran who has completed her associates degree in paralegal studies and is currently working on her Bachelors degree in Legal Studies from American Military University in Charlestown, West Virginia. She has been married to her husband since August 2011 and is a mother to four children. Kristi was diagnosed with (SLE) lupus in November 2016, while serving in the military. She loves to educate and mentor others about her experiences with lupus and how she overcomes the impediments of her illness. Her way of coping with this disease is by keeping herself busy with law school, work, and taking care of her family. Her battle with this disease and other illnesses are continuous, however she fights daily like a true soldier. She does not let it crack her spirit, steal her energy, or break her confidence. She wants others battling the same disease to know they are not alone and that together we can fight this invisible disease. She believes knowledge is power and by being proactive and keeping ourselves informed, we can KNOW lupus and say NO to lupus.
Lupus warrior Rosalind Robinson serves as the Mentor for Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. She is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. Although, she has no children of her own, Ms. Robinson is a godmother of two beautiful young women and an aunt to an amazing young man. She received an Associates of Arts degree at Florida Community College of Jacksonville, then pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology & Music at the University of North Florida. These educational goals led her to receive a lifetime achievement award for serving on the Board at Duval County’s Parent Teacher Association (PTSA). Before being diagnosed with Lupus, she was primarily diagnosed with another auto-immune disease called Sarcoidosis for about 3 years. She has been battling Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE Lupus) for 19 years along with other auto-immune diseases. Since being diagnosed with Lupus, she has undergone multiple life-threatening surgeries; however, by the grace of God, she is full of life and doing well. Everyday is a challenge with Lupus, but she manages no matter the circumstance.
Tasha is a Qualified Professional who works in the state of North Carolina with individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. She was diagnosed with Lupus in 2016. Tasha has a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and hopes to one day open her own business of working with individuals with Special Needs. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, meeting new people and encouraging others to be their best self. Tasha has one daughter, Whitley, who is the apple of her eye.
Chandra serves as the Advocacy & Awareness Chair for Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. She is a native Chicagoan born and raised in Country Club Hills, IL. She commutes back and forth from Chicago to Atlanta to help her only daughter as she battles Sjogren’s syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. After graduating High School in 1990, Chandra proudly served in the United States Army for 9 years. In 2005, she joined the Order of Eastern Stars and became more active in her charity work. Like many other Lupus survivors, she cannot work due to her disabilities, so she dedicates herself to the advocacy, community work, and committees of the sorority. Having earned certifications in nursing assistant, phlebotomy, registered medical assistant, and practical nurse, she continues to pursue her passion for helping others. The day-to-day challenges of managing Systemic Lupus erythematosus for Chandra have been immensely challenging for 33 years now. Additional illnesses have developed due to this, including Sjogren's, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease. As an advocate for herself, her daughter, and the entire Lupus community, it is imperative that she maintain her commitment to the cause. Being a member of the sorority and having a supportive family foundation gives her a sense of purpose and helps her cope with the effects of Lupus. She will continue to “Unmask the Faces of Lupus” in every capacity.