Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date November 8, 2007

For More Information: Brenda Rayner (901) 333-4247


The Southwest Tennessee Community College Science Club participated in the Third Annual Virginia Davis Memorial Walk for Lupus held recently at Shelby Farms. As part of the club’s mission to make “biological science a personal and educational experience,” the club participated in the walk to bring awareness to the College community about this disease. Southwest instructor and Science Club advisor Joyce Johnson commented, “Our members learned about this disease through their service in the walk and the club’s activities prior to the event. The intent for the Walk for Lupus was to raise money for research, for improved drugs and treatment for lupus patients.”

Johnson also said, “There hasn’t been a new drug for this disease in about 40 years, and our participation in this walk has brought awareness to our students who may be interested in research. Since our students will become our next generation of medical professionals, the Science Club serves as a means for them to broaden their understanding of the many different areas of science.”

Southwest Natural Sciences' instructors Joyce Johnson, Imogene Younger, Rosie Taylor, and Taylor’s daughter, Diamond Taylor, represented Southwest in the Walk for Lupus. The Walk for Lupus was held in memory of Virginia Davis, whose life was shortened at the age of 25 due to complications from lupus, and to honor lupus survivors. Despite challenges from the debilitating affects of the disease, Davis fought but fell short of fulfilling her goal of completing college.

Attorney Ruby Wharton, wife of Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton, was the honorary spokesperson for the walk. “We are here for a wonderful purpose. It is all about directing attention to lupus which is a disease that is not readily known and understood. But it is important that research be done.” She further stated in her kick-off address, “In honor and in memory of a wonderful young woman, Virginia Davis, we stand here on this ground committed to do the things that we need to do to get the attention of Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, and America. Lupus is a disease that we need to seek a cure for,” said Attorney Wharton.

The mother of Virginia Davis, Diane Davis, stated, "I felt overwhelmed, humbled, and thankful to Pastor LaSimba Gray, New Sardis Church Family, and the Memphis/Shelby County Community for this walk to heighten the awareness of Lupus, a disease that is so misunderstood and not talked about, even though more than 30,000 people in Tennessee have been diagnosed with it. We are also pleased that students and faculty from Southwest's Science Club noted this as a worthy cause and made this an activity to support."

Several Southwest faculty and their family members accompanied the Science Club students on the 2.75-mile walk which was organized by New Sardis Baptist Church/Neshoba Community Development Resource Center. All proceeds are being donated to the Lupus Foundation of America, Memphis Area Chapter, Inc.

Cutline: Ladonna Davis, Lori Johnson, Tonia Johnson, Joyce Johnson, Heather Doherty and Courtnei Powell (front center) await the kick-off for the Walk for Lupus.

Cutline: During the kick-off address Honorary Spokesperson, Attorney Ruby Wharton, recognizes the Walk for Lupus organizers. Pictured left to right: Acquanetta Thomas, executive director of the Lupus Foundation of America, Memphis Area Chapter, Inc.; Attorney Ruby Wharton; and Diane Davis, mother of the honoree, Virginia Davis.

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