A woman recently engaged in a 48 – hour hunger strike to raise awareness and funds to help people suffering from scleroderma. Erika Pompa, a San Antonio, Texas resident and mother of two, decided to stay for two days on the sidewalk of a local restaurant, starving herself to support the Scleroderma Foundation. In fact, she dubbed the hunger strike “Starving for a Cure.” Even though she is not a SSc patient, her cousin is afflicted with the disease, which led her to take action to raise awareness about scleroderma.
Between Wednesday, October, 29 and November 1, Erika Pompa camped outside the Tost Bistro Fine Dining and Lounge on Blanco Road, on the sidewalk, with no food or water. During “Staring for a Cure” she used the social networks to encourage others to drop by and join her in supporting the cause. The restaurant also helped in the effort, with 10% of their sales on Wednesday and Thursday being donated to the Scleroderma Foundation.
“Why? Because my cousin never stops fighting,” Pompa explains in her presentation video. Her cousin, Jovana Gonzalez Desarden, is 31 years old and was diagnosed with the disease when she was only 14. The doctors said she would only have five years left to live. However, more than 20 surgeries and stem cell transplants later, Jovana is married and a mother to a baby.
Being one of 300,000 people in America suffering from scleroderma, a disease for which there there is no cure, Jovana Gonzalez Desarden struggled with partial amputations, lung and joint deterioration, esophageal and intestinal damage, skin tightening and cancer, but Pompa says they will continue to fight “because my family wouldn’t be the same without her.”
Established in 1998, the Scleroderma Foundation is a non-profit national organization dedicated to supporting patients suffering from scleroderma, as well as their families and friends.