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For Michael B. Jordan, mixing the fun of neon arcade games with the seriousness of lupus is the best way to spread the word about the disease that affects over 1.5 million people in the United States.
The Creed II star told The Hollywood Reporter how his annual MBJam fundraiser differs from traditional galas and how it can be as, if not more, effective.
“When you’re able to mix the easy stuff and the fun stuff with the serious stuff and the real life situations of people who suffer from this disease, I think people are able to see that information better than being told,” he said.
Jordan held the inaugural MBJam fundraising event in 2017 and has since raised thousands of dollars in partnership with Lupus LA to raise awareness and support research for a cure. On Saturday at the Hollywood Dave & Buster’s, Jordan and his mother, Donna, who lives with the disease, Nick Cannon and Toni Braxton joined more than 250 lupus patients and their families for an afternoon of games and fun.
Cannon, who emceed the event, spoke about his lupus diagnosis in 2012 and the importance of building a community of others both directly and indirectly affected by the disease. He told attendees that after he’d gone through inconclusive sessions with doctors, Braxton reached out to him and shared her experience.
“Someone was there who understood what I was beginning to go through…someone who had been on that journey of lupus and who knew about the ups and downs,” he said of Braxton.
Two years after his diagnosis, Cannon said he connected with Jordan, who said he remembered being scared and nervous when seeing what his mother was going through.
Building a community of people who understand the impact of lupus is crucial to bringing about change and awareness, Jordan said. He said he also believes that stars like himself have a duty to use their platforms to get the word out. “It’s a collective group, its a group effort,” he explained. “If I have an army of people that’s able to get that word out there, then I think we’ll start seeing more progress.”
Shameless‘s Scott Campbell said that so many people are affected by lupus whether or not they know it. But when lupus patients see Hollywood figures advocating for lupus awareness and teaming up with organizations like Lupus LA, they’re reminded they’re not alone. Campbell, who had lost a friend to the disease, said that when they see television and movie stars supporting their cause, they feel seen.
“Through all the movies and the television…a friend or a loved one affected by lupus can say that they have a place to go,” he told THR.
Though collaboration and community are integral to spreading the word about lupus, it was all about competition when Jordan, Braxton and Cannon went head to head for a basketball game, with Jordan taking the win each time.
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