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Diagnosis leads D300’s Magerko to back Lupus Foundation

Diane Magerko

Diane Magerko

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What is lupus?

The Lupus Foundation describes lupus as a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body, including skin, joints and organs.

Updated: June 24, 2013 6:47AM

Diane Magerko has long been a champion of furthering the arts in Carpentersville-based School District 300.

Now, the performing and fine arts chair for the District 300 Foundation is rallying for another cause.

Magerko was diagnosed recently with a mild case of lupus, a disease for which there is no cure.

“When you hear something like that, at first you’re just stopped in your tracks,” she said. “You’re just so stunned. It attacks your organs.”

She already had been planning to step back from her work on the District 300 Foundation.

“I wanted to do something different, and I thought it would be something in the arts because that’s my passion,” she said.

Her diagnosis made it clear where her efforts should go.

“I called the Lupus Foundation and said, ‘I’d really like to volunteer and help you.’ I figured while I can do what I can do, I’m going to use this as something that helps others again, through a different platform.”

She currently is heading up a fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation, set for next month. She’d like to see folks from the Fox Valley attend.

“I’m hoping that people out here that know someone and love someone with lupus will join forces with us to help us find a cure for this mysterious disease,” she said.

The buffet-style luncheon fundraiser begins at 11:30 a.m. Monday, June 24, at Tufano’s Restaurant (Little Italy), at 1073 W. Vernon Park Place, Chicago. To register for the event, people can visit and click on “Upcoming Events,” or call the Lupus Foundation at 312-542-0002. Tickets for this event are $50, and all proceeds will go directly to the Lupus Foundation of America – Illinois Chapter.

Magerko said the seating capacity is 200, and she hopes to fill every chair.

“I want to try and raise at least $100,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America – Illinois, and this event will start us over on the right path,” she said.

Mystery ailment

Magerko’s path to her lupus diagnosis came after years of painful symptoms and different answers from various doctors.

“I want people to understand what lupus is and put some awareness out there,” she said. “May is Lupus Awareness Month, and it’s so important. I want to help find funding so we can get more research.”

The proceeds from her fundraiser will go to the Lupus Foundation, which uses the money for research and care for patients that are suffering.

She plans to stay on with the District 300 Foundation a little while longer. She has been the organization for five years.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said.

She’ll be juggling that with her work with the Chicago Chapter of the Lupus Foundation.

“We’ve got to find a cure,” she said.

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