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Judith Anderson

She was born in Buffalo, New York.
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Judith Anderson was born in Buffalo, New York. She is the mother of one son James F. Byers, Jr. and has two granddaughters Ayanna and Araycia. Judith is well known in the community through her activities in support of men and women with Lupus.

In 1990 she was diagnosed with systemic lupus, after suffering for over 27 years without a diagnosis. She became involved with the Lupus Foundation and immediately became proactive in educating those affected with the disease as well as the medical community. In 1994 she was hired part time as Program Director of the Lupus Foundation and was responsible for the first major fund raiser, a luncheon with Martha Stewart in December of 1995 which attracted 1,000 attendees. Under her guidance, over a hundred volunteers were organized to work the event. She was responsible for all the logistics of working with a national celebrity and staff as well as the staff from the national office of the Lupus Foundation of America and the local event committee. With her organizational and outreach skills, Judith developed the Lupus Associationâ??s first Walk Along for Lupus and obtained very key sponsors who continue to support the event.

While finding out more about the disease itself, and learning how to cope with a chronic illness, she learned that there was a high prevalence of lupus in the minority communities, especially among African American women. With this in mind, she worked to bring several education programs to the Buffalo minority community, worked with the rheumatology clinics and physicians to educate them about the Lupus Foundation and ultimately started the first Lupus support group for African American women. She then moved on to establish relationships in other minority communities and did the same work for Hispanic women with Lupus in Buffalo .

She served on the Minority Action Committee of the Lupus Foundation of America and worked to produce brochures that were easier to understand, in both English and Spanish. Seeing the need for even more work to be done for minority women, she formed a Minority Outreach Program for the Lupus Foundation. As a result, she was one of the founders of the Minority Health Coalition, is currently President and has grown the organization to a membership of over 65 local agencies.

While focusing on the Coalition, it came to her attention that there was a grassroots group forming to address the high incidence of lupus in the Fillmore-Grider area of Buffalo due to an environmental waste site at 858 East Ferry. The group met several times and wanted to do surveys to find out the extent of the problem. Together with representatives from the University of Buffalo , political and community leaders, they have applied and received a grant for 1.1 million dollars over a 5 year period for this work. She is the Project Coordinator and was directly involved in developing the survey which will enable the group to develop a registry for lupus research and insure cleanup of the toxic waste sites. Further, the organization will train speakers to go into the community to educate residents about the issue.

Judithâ??s volunteer work to assist minority women suffering with lupus is extensive and outstanding. In 2004 she spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus on African-American women and lupus from a patientâ??s perspective and the need for more money for lupus research. Also in 2004 as part of â??Team Lupus: A Patient Perspectiveâ?, Judith addressed physicians and other healthcare professionals at the American College of Rheumatology/American Rheumatology & Healthcare Professionals Scientific Meeting. This was the first time in fifty years that a lay person was invited to speak at this scientific meeting.

Judith is also a volunteer with her Church, the Elim Christian Fellowship Church . She has been a member since it was founded in 2000 and has been active in working on the new Church building in Central Park Plaza . In 2002 Judith was made Director of the Health Ministry which focuses on both healing and health using Christian community traditions of prayer and healing along with the knowledge and tools of modern day health care. She has volunteered to work with young women of the Church and is a mentor in the Rites of Passage Program. The program is based on already established practices in the African culture that help children from ages 11-18 move from childhood to adulthood. She also works to help 15 year old girls develop Christian values, social responsibility and learn the importance of education and socialization skills.
Judith has received numerous community awards including the YWCA Leader Award; Miles E. Cummings Education Award from the Lupus Foundations; the National Pacesetter Award from the Telephone Pioneers of America; 1490 Black Achievers in Industry Award and many others.