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Hope Raisers: Kim Brooks

Event Raises Much-Needed Attention of Scleroderma to African-American Women


Kim Brooks (left) and Laura Dyas, Executive Director of the Michigan Chapter

Kim Brooks hosted a special fashion show and beauty event this summer to honor her mother who has scleroderma. The “Ladies Let’s Live! Beauty Breakfast and Fashion Show” was held in June at Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich. The event featured some special entertainment and benefitted the Scleroderma Foundation’s Michigan Chapter.


Models at the Ladies Let’s Live! Beauty Breakfast and Fashion Show.

Brooks, who is a published author and speaker, was inspired to coordinate the event with her mother. Lu Brooks was diagnosed with scleroderma in August 2008. “My mom approached me and wanted to make a difference and host a fundraiser for the Scleroderma Foundation’s Michigan Chapter,” said Kim Brooks. “My mom has a passion for beauty and inspiring women to feel their best at all times.”

The breakfast event featured a fashion show, in addition to visits from a past winner of Oprah’s Pop Star Challenge, LaShell Renee; soulful jazz saxophonist Yancyy, and Carole Gist-Stramler, the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss USA.


Renowned saxophonist Yancyy also performed.

The event was a great way to reach women in the African-American community to learn more about the effects of scleroderma, especially since research has indicated that it can be more devastating in the minority group. “While promoting the event, I discovered that many African-American women had never even heard of scleroderma. This means there may be some people who may have it and don’t even know it, especially in the case of those who do not have proper medical insurance to be diagnosed properly,” said Brooks.


LaShell Renee, a former winner of Oprah’s Pop Star Challenge, sang at the fundraiser.

“I believe the greatest accomplishment from this event was that we raised more awareness [about scleroderma] and we showed support to others diagnosed with this uncommon disease, to let them know that they are not alone in their plight and that others really do care about what they’re going through,” she said.

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