We at the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and Lupus Research Institute say goodbye with deep sadness and great appreciation to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who died June 3, 2013 at 89 years of age. A devoted friend to both our organizations, he led the fight in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to make lupus a national health priority.
Our organizations will remember Senator Lautenberg as a great statesman, a dedicated proponent for public health and a strong advocate for all patients. As just one of his many successful initiatives, the Senator led the drive in Congress to improve professional education so all healthcare providers nationwide have the tools they need to recognize, diagnose and treat the too-often overlooked disease of lupus. The Senator was equally passionate about protecting the country’s commitment to advancing biomedical research. As recently as this spring, Senator Lautenberg co-hosted a Senate briefing on lupus to apprise Congress of the imperative need to protect scientific advances and assure strong support to the National Institutes of Health.
The photo of Senator Lautenberg and his wife Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg at our Lupus Gala last year tells the story of his commitment most eloquently. The couple was honored for their leadership together and as individuals in elevating lupus to national attention and galvanizing decisive action.
“On behalf of people with lupus as well as those suffering with any challenging disease, we thank Senator Lautenberg for his years of turning concern into action and compassion into legislation,” said Richard DeScherer, President of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. “The Senator was a powerful proponent for what he believed in, and he passionately believed in our government’s responsibility to ensure the safety and good health of the American people. Our hearts go out to our beloved Board Member Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, and to all his family for the loss of a man as devoted to those he loved as to those he served.”