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About us

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

 

 We have no past or current affiliation with Gamma Pi Gamma Sorority, Inc.

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), 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. 

 

 

Events

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to become a member?

You will pay an initial non-refundable $35 application fee. A $250 nonrefundable membership packet Fee (includes induction materials) is also required.  Yearly non-refundable membership dues of $200 will be required.

 

When is the Membership Packet due?

The membership packet will be due 1 month after acceptance into a class.

Do I have to have a specific type of Lupus to join?

No. You just have to be diagnosed with Lupus to request membership.

Do I have to currently be actively involved in a Lupus organization in my community?

No. As long as you are willing to participate and work with your local Lupus community organizations in the future, you will still meet the requirements to join Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc.

Are you affiliated with any other similar organization?

We have no past or current affiliation with Gamma Pi Gamma Sorority, Inc.

Founders

Meet the founders of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Incorporated

Autumn Austin: Founder - President

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: 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!"

Shalisha Parker: Founder - CFO/Paraphernalia

Shalisha Batiste Parker, a single mother of one was diagnosed with SLE Lupus in October 2017. She was born on Williams Air Force Base and has resided in several states with her formative years being rooted in the deep south. Shalisha has always possessed a love and passion for numbers which led her to study finance and marketing at the University of Southern Mississippi in Harrisburg MS. With a CPA, CFSA, and CISA among other financial certifications and credentials is an assurance and consulting professional who helps companies improve their risk management, internal control and governance processes. Over 10 years of experience providing internal audit, risk advisory, and management consulting services to companies in a variety of industries.

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 Operational Board

Breana Davenport: Secretary

Breana Davenport is a 31 year old mother of one, living with Lupus for 5 years. She was diagnosed in the Spring of 2015. She is from GA but currently lives in the busy city of Las Vegas. She is the National Secretary of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. Breana lover to go to the movies, dance, write and shoot guns at the range when she has time from her busy schedule. She loves to learn about other cultures through their food and dance. Breana is a lover of God and all His works.

Jeanette J Pizarro: Media & Marketing

Jeanette Pizarro of Puerto Rican heritage was born and raised in Bronx NY. Following in her father’s footsteps, she enlisted in the Marine Corps; served during Desert Storm from 1991 -1998 and 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. She did all of this while working on her Military Sexual Trauma, PTSD, being a single mom and dealing with health issues. Only in 2018, Jeanette was diagnosed with SLE after years of fighting to find what was wrong with her, she learned about the monster lurking inside. Jeanette currently lives in Las Vegas with her soulmate, Retired (USMC) GySgt Darius Harpe, and they share 5 children. Jeanette works for the Dept of the Interior, US Fish & Wildlife Service as an Administrative Officer. She also does work creating websites and logos for small and non-profit businesses.

Tonya Johnson: General Counsel/Paraphernalia

Tonya serves as the General Counsel for GPRLS. Tonya was born and raised in Washington, DC. She currently lives in Clinton, MD with her husband. She has worked in the legal/contracts arena for over 20+ years. She received her MBA in 2013 and her BA in Business Management in 2007 from the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the National Contact Management Association (NCMA). Tonya is married with two daughters ages 21 and 28. They also adopted Tonya’s two (2) nieces’ who are ages 29 and 28. She loves to shop until she drops and attend family gatherings. Before being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in 2015 she was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2012.

Ti’Ocea Hagins: Intake Coordinator / Marketing

Ti’Ocea serves as the Intake Coordinator and Financial Assistant of Gamma Pi Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. She is a native of Rochester, New York born and raised, but now resides in Charlotte, NC with her family. She is a mother of a son 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 that 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) that 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.

Rosalind Robinson: Co-Chancellor/Mentor

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.

Chandra Heard: Travel & Meeting Coordinator

Chandra serves as the Travel Coordinator for Gamma PI Rho Lupus Sorority, Inc. She is a native resident born in Chicago & 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 & chronic fatigue. After graduating High School in 1990, Chandra proudly served in the U.S Army for 9 years. In 2005 she joined the Order of Eastern Stars & started to become more active in her charity work. Like most other Lupus warriors she’s unable to work because of her disabilities. She tries to fulfill her purpose by continuing her education in the medical field via Certified Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy, Registered Medical Assistant, & now as a Practical Nurse. Chandra has been enduring her diagnosis for over 30 years. Managing Systemic Lupus Erythematous can be challenging from day to day. It has brought on additional illness’s that she deals with such as Sjrogen’s, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis & 3rd stage Renal failure. She continues to move forward being an advocate for herself, her daughter & others. Raising awareness & taking on challenges so that she doesn’t succumb to Lupus and all that it entails.

Kristie Riley: Co-Chancellor & Education Chair

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.

Tasha Elmore-Faulkner : Historian

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.

Freida Simmons: Chaplin

Freida was diagnosed with SLE Lupus on September 4, 2004. Her educational background consists of a degree in Medical Assistant and Administration, Licensed Practical Nursing and Child Care Development. She has worked with the handicap and mentally challenged for 15 years, and she was a substitute teacher and a Pre-K teacher. Freida has 3 children and 9 grandchildren. She is very active in her church where she holds many positions, which consists of; president of #2 Usher Board, choir member, Pastor Appreciation Committee, Pastor Aid Ministry, Outreach Ministry, Church Benevolent Ministry, Bereavement Ministry, Youth &Young Adult Praise Dance Ministry, Youth Ministry Counselor

Althea McKenzie: Parliamentarian

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.

Jamie Jones: Co-Chancellor

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

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.