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Hobbled Johnson Helps ALR Take a Giant Leap

Woody Johnson might be having a little trouble walking around these days, but that hasn't prevented him from keeping the Alliance for Lupus Research on the fast track for a cure to the autoimmune disease that can affect the joints and almost every major organ in the body.

Unable to attend an ALR fundraising event at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this week due to a fractured left ankle, the Jets Owner/ALR Chairman got a favorable prognosis from Mike Tannenbaum as we near the May 21 ALR Walk at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

"In the offseason we always have guys who need some surgery — some bigger than others and unfortunately Woody is on that list this year," said the Jets GM.  "But we expect him to be full go for training camp and if he passes Rex's conditioning run — he'll be on the field as well."

On Wednesday, US health officials announced approval of the first drug — Benlysta — in 56 years to treat lupus.

"As one of the pioneering funders and supporters of B-cell research, the Alliance for Lupus Research commends Human Genome Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline for their enduring commitment and tireless research efforts to bring belimumab (Benlysta) to people with lupus," said ALR President Ken Farber.  "For everyone touched by this debilitating disease — people with lupus and their families, as well as lupus researchers around the world — we can today celebrate a major advance in treatment options for lupus."

Johnson, who has a daughter with lupus, founded the ALR in 1999 and has been at the forefront of the organization that has raised more than $65 million to treat, cure and prevent lupus. Tannenbaum pointed out that more people suffer from this disease than leukemia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis combined and that of the 1.5 million Americans inflicted with it — an astounding 90 percent are women.

"I would never bet against the man, and I'm sure we're going to find a cure for this disease one day and it's because of his leadership," Mr. T. said.  "I want everyone here to know that he's fully committed to this and this organization is fully committed to this worthy cause."

"Our entire organization is committed to finding a cure for lupus," added Rex Ryan.  "Wouldn't it be something one day we're sitting here and that's happened?  As much as we want to win a Super Bowl, there are certain things that are a lot more important."

Mr.  Johnson is scheduled to have surgery on his ankle Friday, but he already has Sat. May 21 circled on his calendar.  That's when the ALR will hold its inaugural New Meadowlands Stadium Walk with Us to Cure Lupus.

"I'm excited about our new walk, going around our stadium — the Jets Stadium," said Ryan.  "I think it's going to be a great event."

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