Karon Beasley of Towne Lake and Stacie Collett of Holly Springs are raising money for the annual Georgia Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America's Walk for Lupus Now fundraiser.
The walk will begin at 5 p.m. at the Meadow entrance at Piedmont Park on 10th Street in Atlanta. Registration will begin at 4 p.m.
The foundation is hoping to raise $250,000.
Ms. Beasley, who is hoping to raise $1,500 for the foundation, said she's excited to participate in the walk.
"It's very moving," she said.
Mrs. Collett will participate in the walk for the first time. She said she decided to participate because her health was better and she felt it was time to meet others who suffered from lupus.
Lupus, an autoimmune disease, can affect parts of the body, including joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood or brain.
The disease is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood as the symptoms can mimic other illnesses.
Symptoms include joint and muscle pain, severe fatigue, a rash caused by or made worse by sunlight, low grade fever and hair and weight loss. There is no cure for the disease.
According to the foundation, there are about 55,000 sufferers of the disease in Georgia and an estimated 1.5 million lupus patients in the United States.
Both Mrs. Collett and Ms. Beasley said they suffered for years before they finally got the lupus diagnosis.
Ms. Beasley said she suffered from a rapid heart rate, hair loss and "horrible" joint pains. She added she slept 12 to 14 hours a day. She was finally diagnosed in 1998.
Ms. Collett was diagnosed in May 2005 and added she also suffered from joint pain, headaches and frequently developed a rash after being exposed to sunlight.
Between 2004 and 2005, her symptoms became worse and she developed "debilitating" fatigue and lost weight.
"You just feel so helpless," she said of not knowing what was wrong with her.
She added she suspected she suffered from the disease when she was a teenager because she also developed a rash while out in the sun.
After the diagnosis, she felt relieved.
"At least I knew what it was and what I was up against," she added.
Living with lupus makes life unpredictable for both women. They both take about 15 medications each day.
Ms. Beasley is often unable to fully commit to engagements. She can easily sleep for up to 13 hours each day.
"It can be socially awkward to tell people," she added. She tries to exercise at least two times a week, which she said is important for lupus patients.
Ms. Beasley, 42, runs a small business with her mother that provides care packages for children at summer camps and is currently on full disability.
Mrs. Collett, who has a 14-year-old daughter and husband, said after the diagnosis, she tried to work full-time, but it "really wore her body down."
She added her family has "been very supportive" and tries to center family activities around her health.
"There are so many things I want to do, but can't," she said, such as going to the beach. Sun exposure for causes migraines and makes her "totally exhausted."
The Georgia Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America has provided both women with emotional support and has linked them with other metro Atlanta residents who suffer with the disease.
Mrs. Collett added she would like for people to become more educated about the disease and the affect it has on people's lives.
Often, she said, people associate lupus with patients eventually succumbing to death. There are mild, moderate and severe cases of the disease, she said, and patients can live with the disease with proper medications.
"Regardless, it's nothing to mess around with," she said.
Both women also said donations to support research into finding new drugs are also integral to increasing the livelihood of patients with the disease.
Ms. Beasley also encourages other lupus patients to become more active in putting their faces to the stories of lupus patients.
"Every story needs to be told," she said. "By being involved, you can feel validated. By just doing the little things, we can get the attention and drugs we need."