For the some 200,000 people —majority women over the age of 19— diagnosed with lupus every year, the daily struggle to just function is done in silence. But for actress Tichina Arnold, the battle is something that she witnesses first hand with her sister having the autoimmnue disease.
“It affected me directly when my sister Zenay was diagnosed with it and then seeing how underserved this disease is for those that are suffering and fighting every day,” she said about recognizing a need for those with lupus that creates flare ups of fatigue, joint pain, rashes and fevers.
Arnold was honored at the 14th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards Luncheon during the 2017 ESSENCE Festival weekend in New Orleans for her We Win non-profit foundation that creates lifestyle programs, provides alternative health treatments, financial assistance and counseling for those with lupus.
“As McDonald’s continues to raise the bar, we wanted this year’s Awards to be another example of that,” said Angie Blissett, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director about honorees Arnold, Sanya Richards-Ross and Valeisha Butterfield-Jones.
“We are committed to being deeply rooted in the communities we serve. The 365Black Awards is where we want to continue to recognize outstanding individuals and highlight their positive contributions to the community.”
While Arnold appreciates the accolades, it’s her sister that’s truly the inspiration and moving force behind her work.
“My most proudest moment was when my sister Zenay asked me to help sufferers like her and the caregivers like myself to help them live NOW. Hence, the We Win Foundation vision was birthed.”