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With co-host Malcolm-Jamal Warner by her side, Maybelline model Tomiko promised to put “the fun in fundraiser” at a charity soirée to raise awareness and funds for Lupus research in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The mission was accomplished. The event, sponsored by the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation took on a 20’s Cotton Club atmosphere, complete with jazz band. Attendees dressed the part, helping to set a nostalgic tone amidst an event where the subject of Lupus was in the spotlight.

The cause to raise awareness about Lupus is very personal to Jada and Tomiko. In a serious tone, Jada explained that her high school friend, aunt and cousin all have been diagnosed with Lupus. For Tomiko, it is her sister that suffers from the disease. When asked what prompted her to create this event, Tomiko said, “I created this event out of the love for my sister.”

Tomiko is a role model for supporting this cause with passion, but was not the only model present; Mercedes Scelba from Season two of “America’s Next Top Model” was on hand to support the event. Mercedes has Lupus, and her condition was the focus of an episode of the show.

And where does Malcom-Jamal Warner fit in all of this? Malcom is close friends with Tomiko’s husband and has witnessed what Tomiko has gone through trying help her sister. Tomiko said the change in her sister was rapid, drastically debilitating her within a week.

Others in attendance to support the charity included actress Tisha Campbell and her husband, actor Duane Martin. General Hospital star Kent Masters King, “I Wanna Be A Soap Star” YVES, "Project Runway’’ reality stars Kayne and Jeffrey were also on hand, while recording artist Res gave a performance.

Lupus manifests itself so differently in people. Its consequences can include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, kidney failure and death. There have been no new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for lupus in more than 40 years. No one is safe from lupus; it affects men and women, although women are more likely to acquire the disease. It tends to strike the range of women of color more commonly.

The commitment to raising Lupus awareness continues with a walk for Lupus on November 4th in Los Angeles. For more information contact Sherise Bright of Lupus Foundation of America, +1-213-742-9048, sherise@brightkarma.com.

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