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Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc.

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”.

 

Motto:

“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)”

 

Founding date and location:

Gamma Pi Rho

September 20, 2020

Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

MORE ABOUT US

Mission & History

MISSION:

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.

HISTORY:

Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority was founded in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 20, 2020 by The Great Eight (8): Autumn Austin (NV), Kimberly Spight-Walker – “Honorary” (IL), 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. “

 

Events

Auxiliary

Our Purpose

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.

Founders

Meet the founders of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Incorporated

Autumn Austin: Founder - President - CFO

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!!

Kimberly Spight-Walker: Founder (Honorary)- Silver Warrior Chair

Kimberly has been living with Lupus for over 25 years. Her journey is complex as y’all might already know being a Lupus warrior. Her journey was not easy, but it became a gift blessed by God. It allowed her to meet some amazing women who are fighting the same battle she is fighting (LUPUS). Kimberly's doctor told her some years ago she would be able to help other women who are trying to navigate through the highs and lows of Lupus, and that’s exactly what she is doing. November 4, 2017, is when she officially became a Lupus Facilitator through the Lupus Society of Illinois. This is where she began her journey, helping women who needed assistance in navigating and processing the new way of life. Kimberly officially became a member of the Gamma Pi Rho in the Fall of 2020. She is the 2nd Founder, and chairperson for the soon-to-be-launched Silver Warriors. She hopes to be an asset to all departments and bridge the generations in our sorority with the Silver Warrior auxiliary. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 1997 and my Master’s in Public Administration in 2007. She has worked in the Criminal Justice field for over 30 years. She is looking forward to retirement in about 6 years and working more in the Lupus community.

LaVita Williams: Founder

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 Williams: Founder - Vice President

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: Founder

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 RN, BSN: Founder

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 "Deon" Jones: Founder - S.E.A.L. Team Coordinator

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 Caine: Founder

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.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Operational Board

                            Meet the Members of the National Operating Committee

Yolanda Smith: Secretary

Yolanda “Vital Sign” Smith, born In Arkansas yet raised in Las Vegas, NV. As a Great Awakening member of Gamma Phi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. she will serve as our secretary. Yolanda not only is a member of GPR she also is actively involved with Colors of Lupus Nevada. She is a mother to three and grandmother to two grandsons. The road to her lupus, as well other autoimmune diseases began in 2008 yet wasn’t diagnosed until January 2017. She is a certified medical assistant for last 27 years. She is also the owner of Sweet 100 Catering Co., which she started back in April 2019. Her community service efforts started out with K.F.A.B.S., an organization founded during LA Riots in 1992 to current, she was youth group advisor for over 8 years

Nicole Hester: Assistant Secretary

Nicole "TAILorMade" Hester, mother of two was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she attended Columbia College('98). Nicole was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus during her 3rd year of undergraduate studies. She became a member of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority (line name ZERO TOLERANCE) FALL 2022 and is part of GPRLS's Advocacy & Awareness team. Nicole enjoys spending quality time with her grandson, Mason(1). She is currently pursuing her Masters in Education(EPOL)and is due to conclude her studies, FALL of 2023. Nicole is looking forward to attending her first very 1ST Founders Day, September 2023,

Sonya Elmore: Parliamentarian - Finance

Sonya Elmore is a resident of Monroe, LA. She received her Associate Degree in Applied Science in Accounting (AAS) in 1989 followed by a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information System (BBA) in 1992. She was diagnosed with System Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in April 2010 and has been battling it ever since. She is also the CEO of Elmore’s Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation Services, LLC. She also sales Avon and Herbal Life. She is highly qualified and has been managing finances and doing taxes since 2000. She is also a QuickBooks Pro Advisor along with being proficient in QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. Being a single mom of three beautiful children, a son and daughter who is 13 years old and a special needs son who is 10 years old who has autism. Recently her oldest son was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She is very active in her church where she holds many positions which consist of being a Sunday School Teacher, Youth Leader, Vacation Bible School Teacher, and Choir Member. She is also a member of Gamma Delta Epsilon Incorporated, a Christian Sorority. Sonya loves spending time with her children, family, and friends along with going to the movies, listening to music, watching videos, playing video games. Sonya is a lover of God, and she believes he is able. Some of her favorite scriptures are Philippians 4:13; Psalm 34: 1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Psalm 23, just to name a few. Her favorite sayings are “I may have LUPUS, but LUPUS doesn’t have me.”

Jeanette J Pizarro-Harpe: Media & Marketing

Jeanette Pizarro-Harpe is a Trailblazer member of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. She is of Puerto Rican heritage and was 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 honorably discharged in 1998 as a Sgt. She 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. She 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, 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, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Realize Foundation.

Lashawn Hamiel: Media & Marketing/Advocacy & Awareness

LaShawn Hamiel, born in Philadelphia, PA, is a Medical Assistant, Registered Nurse, and National Certified Phlebotomist. She has been working at Holy Redeemer Hospital since 2009 and is passionate about helping others and treating them with respect. LaShawn is a mother of four children and has been involved in various community activities since 2007. She was diagnosed with Lupus, cervical cancer, and Dvt's, which devastated her. LaShawn has also been a cheerleading coach and choreographer since 2007, and is an advocate for helping women and children in need. She participates in coat drives, toy drives, and back-to-school events to raise awareness of the needs of youth in the community. LaShawn's passion for pastry cooking began at 16 and she now owns Lala's D'licious Sweets and Treats and Love-By-Yuri Thrift Shop and Boutique. She serves on the board of Gamma Pi Rho, focusing on raising awareness of Lupus and the importance of everyone playing a role in finding a cure.

Ashley Riley: Media & Marketing

A native of Windsor, Connecticut Ashley began her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Washington, DC, later transferring to the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. Ashley was diagnosed with (SLE) Lupus in 2014, after the birth of her son. In 2015 Ashley left Connecticut and relocated to Florida where she began working for the Broward County School District as a Risk Management Professional. In June 2018 Ashley was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha honor society and received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Ashley is an active member and former Board of Director for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc (South Palm Beach Chapter), a Lupus Ambassador for the Lupus Foundation of America, Southeast Florida Region and an Administrative Assistant for Women Business Connect. In her spare time Ashley enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Ashley believes that people are more than their diagnosis, that you can be a beacon of strength, a source of inspiration, and a reminder that even in the face of challenges, life can be beautiful. Ashley looks forward to continuously evolving with the digital landscape, creating impactful campaigns, and contributing to the vibrant tapestry of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc Media & Marketing team.

Kristi Riley: Chancellor

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.

Kendra Greenwood: Co-Chancellor

Kendra is a Virginia native currently residing in Southern California. She is a Navy spouse and mother to two girls. She started experiencing symptoms and struggling with her health in 2015 and first received a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in 2017. It took until June 2020 for her to receive the diagnosis of lupus (SLE). In the beginning, she felt a lot of emotions about having such an illness, but through research and support groups, she found the encouragement she needed. Since being a member of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority Inc., Kendra has enjoyed being a chancellor, where she helps educate and bring in the new line of sisters to our sorority. She finds pleasure in teaching those around her about the complications of lupus and fibromyalgia. Kendra believes that these illnesses are not her limitations in life and continues to strive every day!

Rosalind Robinson: Co-Chancellor

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.

Ti’Ocea Hagins: Co-Chancellor

Ti’Ocea Hagins, a native of Rochester, New York born and raised, but now resides in Charlotte, NC with her family. She is a mother of two wonderful sons who has become her life. She graduated from Monroe Community College with an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and Brockport State College (State University of New York) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Forensic Science. Before being diagnosed with Lupus, she was originally battling another auto-immune disease called Mixed-Connective Tissue Disease and Arthritis since early 2012. She was then diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in September 2018 and has been battling it ever since. She has struggled with her health since the age of 20, when she was first hit with an 18-wheeler which ultimately led to her health being a downhill battle. She has battled everything from Pulmonary Embolisms to having all her colon removed from becoming sick with C-difficile Colitis (C-diff) which became a battle to stay alive. Through all of her obstacles, trials, and tribulations, she, by the Grace of God, is still here on this earth and has lived to tell us her story through her book Surviving the Storms.

LaRhonda Yokum: Travel Coordinator/Fundraising

La Rhonda Leontyne Yokum-Guidry was born on February 1, 1970, to the union of the late Rev. & Mrs. Ronald L. Yokum. Happily married to Curtis Guidry for 21 years and has an 18-year-old son whom they affectionately call Binky, Curtis Dwayne Yokum-Guidry. A proud product of Rayne High School, Southern University A&M Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University at Eunice, and Southern University at New Orleans. A retired educator with 20 years of experience specializing in Social Studies and African American Studies was diagnosed with Lupus in 2018, which led to her earlier retirement. She became a home-based travel agent under a host agency in February 2018, starting a new career path in the travel industry before retirement. She founded Daughters of Nefertiti, Inc., an organization that caters to the needs and betterment of African American girls in grades 8 through 12. Additionally, in 2022, she started her own Host Agency. Their end-of-year season culminates with an annual Jewels of The Nile Cotillion. La Rhonda is also a member of The Order of Eastern Stars Scottish Rite. Soror Bayou is a genuine lover of people of all ages and from all walks of life who loves to travel, cook, and bake.

Jasmine Lawson: Paraphernalia

Jazz Soror Runway possess the heart of a lion and a runway walk that will turn heads. A beautiful soul who is not afraid to stand up for what she loves and what’s important! She founded her business in 2021 during the pandemic to give hope to people. Her vision was to show people that we can still follow our dreams despite adversity. Her business, The Jazz Experience, represents all of the talents and creative services God has blessed her with. She is thankful for her support system and my creative mind. Jazz was diagnosed with Lupus in 2016. Her motivation comes from her diagnosis. Jazz has great confidence knowing what she is up against, but she is continually inspiring others.

Tiffany Cason: Paraphernalia

Tiffany Cason, 34 years old, was diagnosed with Lupus in December 2018, happily married for 10 years, and has 2 loving children. Her passion is Education, where she received her degree in Early Childhood and continuing education in Human Service Administration. She Was employed through the School District of Lee County for 20 years. In October of 2023, she was blessed to become the Assistant Principal of a Private Christian School. She has a small business, Printed Blessings by TLC. This life is definitely one chosen for her by her Heavenly Father. Without Him and a great family, she would not have made it. Tiffany is extremely grateful to the Lord that he is keeping her here on earth with family, even during the hardest times with her health. She is thankful to be a part of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority Inc. and to serve in the paraphernalia department. She has a beautiful sisterhood that understands her when no one else does and accepts her just as she is. She is Soror Southern Belle.

Curtisha Ray Anderson: Paraphernalia

Curtisha Anderson was diagnosed with lupus 32 years ago at 14 years old. Through the years, lupus caused damage to her kidney, and she needed a kidney transplant. In 2017, Curtisha received a kidney transplant and is doing well. In 2022, she started The Curtisha Anderson Scholarship Foundation as an expression of her gratitude for her transplant, a way to honor her donor, and a way to give back to her community. Curtisha is an ambassador for The Lupus Foundation of America - Heartland Chapter and The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS). She enjoys volunteering for The National Kidney Foundation, Gift of Life KC, Midwest Transplant Network, and The American Kidney Fund. Curtisha is also a proud member of Team MoKan, a community of organ, eye, and tissue recipients, donor families, and living donors, and she serves as the Minority Donor Liaison. She competed in her first Transplant Games of America in 2022 and brought home a gold and silver medal for her team. She says that her greatest accomplishment is becoming a Glamorous Gamma!

Tasha Elmore-Faulkner : Historian/Chaplain

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 Heard: Advocacy & Awareness Chair

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.

Tynesha Hall: Advocacy & Awareness

Tynesha Hall is a part of our Advocacy and Awareness Department. She has twin sons, 25, who support her and her condition. She has a fur grandbaby who is her ESA and service dog whom she lovingly calls Ms. Tyanna K. Tynesha was diagnosed with lupus in 2006 at the age of 25. Her story is a testament to the strength and resilience of individuals with chronic illnesses. Despite her struggles with lupus, she has been able to pursue her passions and create a fulfilling career as an esthetician. Her twin sons and fur grandbaby were a constant source of love and support throughout her journey. She started her makeup and lash business to continue pursuing her passion while managing her condition. Her diagnosis has only fueled her determination to help others feel confident and beautiful through makeup and lashes, and she has been able to do so through my own business. While her mobility may have declined, her passion for helping others has grown stronger. She is an active spinal cord injury support group member and is featured in the United Spinal Association of Illinois newsletter. Additionally, she is part of the Guthy Jackson Foundation, which supports individuals diagnosed with NMO. She enjoys shopping, attending church, and being a listening ear to others. Because she is fortunate to have a strong support system of family and friends, she is determined not to let her struggles with Lupus or NMO defeat her and will overcome any challenges that come my way. She hopes to inspire others to embrace their beauty and strength, no matter their challenges. Tynesha is passionate about helping others look good and showing people you can still look good with a chronic illness. Through her advocacy, awareness, and zest for life, she is Triumphant, Gamma Pi Rho’s, Soror Triumphant Diva.

Marnetta Sanders-Ennis: Silver Warriors - Charity & Community Service

Marnetta Sanders-Ennis is a native Southern Californian who was transplanted to Maryland after being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus in 1993. After suffering a stroke, Marnetta was not only told she had lupus, but she was also given the disheartening news that the life expectancy for lupus patients was about 10 years. As a wife and mother of 3, Marnetta couldn’t just sit and accept the limitations she was given. She changed her career, earning her B.S. in Hospital Administration and Planning, and M.S. in Education. She now serves as the Workforce Development Manager for Maryland Health Benefits Exchange. A lot has changed in the ‘world of Lupus’ since 1993! Since then there have been many breakthroughs and improvements in the treatment of lupus, and Marnetta is proud to be counted as a 30 year warrior and survivor! She understands the challenges facing lupus patients and is excited to serve Gamma Pi Rho as a member of the Charity and Community Service Board as well as the Co-Chair of the Silver Warriors for women 55 and over. In her role she is honored to give support and encouragement to other Lupus sufferers, whether they are just starting on their journey, or have years of experience under their belt. That’s why Marnetta is so excited about the Glammorous women of Gamma. Gamma is filled with knowledgeable, supportive and awesome women who fight for the quality of life of the Lupus Warrior.

Paula Garrett: S.E.A.L. / D.Y.M.E.S.

Paula serves as the Chair for the S.E.A.L.S. and the D.Y.M.E.S. These are additional auxiliaries connected to the sorority. She was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. Her three greatest blessings came in the form of her amazing children, Michael, Brittanni, and Kyila-Starr. They are her pride and joy, along with her gorgeous grandbabies. She is a certified nursing assistant, phlebotomist, and registered medical assistant. Paula’s love for helping others has allowed her to work as the Director of Life skills for an outpatient treatment center. She was diagnosed with lupus on February 2, 2001. Like many other Lupus warriors, she suffered many health crises, multiple surgeries, and various treatments to save her life and keep her healthy. Just recently, she suffered a series of mini-strokes brought on by a Lupus flare. The day-to-day challenges of managing SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) have kept her researching treatments, medications, and even naturopathic remedies. Fitness has been her savior. Becoming a Committed dance fitness instructor, along with weight training, has helped to channel the overwhelming frustrations of living with Lupus. Advocating is a priority for her as well. This is a journey she could not do alone. That’s why she is grateful for becoming a member of the sorority. It has been a life-changing experience. Having a sisterhood that understands and recognizes the race we run has made her smile many days. Awareness is wealth.

Patricia Dees: S.E.A.L. / D.Y.M.E.S. - Fundraising

Patricia Dees, a native of Saint Louis, Missouri was honored to become a member of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. in Spring 2021 as part of "The Great Awakening". Patricia is a Lupus Advocate with 14 years of service which led her volunteer work with the Lupus Foundation of America-Heartland Chapter to receive volunteer of the year. Patricia looks forward to continuing to bring awareness and shine a light on the work of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. as a member of the Advocacy and Awareness and DYMES/SEALS committees.

Shalitha Johnson: S.E.A.L. / D.Y.M.E.S.

Shalitha is a native of the South Suburban area of Chicago. She began her battle with Lupus at the early age of 11 years old. Twenty-Two years later she is still showing others that she Lives with Lupus but it does not control her life! Shalitha has a passion for helping others understand that healthy mental health is vital in ensuring a good quality of life. Against all the odds she has faced, she obtained her Certified Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy Certification, Associate’s of Art in Education, Bachelor's of Art in Psychology and she is currently finishing her Master's of Science in Psychology. Shalitha not only battles Lupus but Sjorgrens and Rheumatoid Arthritis. She's learned through trial and error that the first step in treatment is advocating for yourself. She serves on Advocacy and Awareness and Seals and Dymes.

TESTIMONIALS

Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority members are proud to help our local communities. We are actively involved where we live to not only “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”, but to provide information, connection to local resources and outreach to our families affected by LUPUS. Please go to our Testimonial page and share your comments and experiences.