Posted On: 12/4/18 7:30 AM

Back in February of 2014, Cordova boys basketball coach Terrance Scales lost his wife, Renee Scales, to a disease called lupus.

But, what is lupus?

Lupus is a disease many know very little about, then there are some people who haven’t heard about the disease. According to Medical News Today, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system produces autoantibodies that attack healthy cells and tissues, including those of the skin, joints, heart, lung, kidneys, and brain.

The exact cause of the disease is unclear, but exposure to sunlight, stress, and smoking can trigger the disease. Pregnancy is another common trigger for the condition among women.

Since coach Scales lost his wife, he decided there was something that needed to be done to get people informed about the deadly disease. He decided to start up the Renee Scales Lupus Classic to honor his wife, and to bring awareness to the disease.

Schools such as MHEA, Brighton, Melrose, and Holly Springs participated in this year’s event.

“I think lupus is a disease that doesn’t get the same notoriety and publicity as cancer or breast cancer,” Scales said. “Before she (Renee Scales) was diagnosed with it, I had heard of it, but I really didn’t understand exactly what it was.

“This is just my way of trying to bring some awareness to a disease that have affected so many people.”

Around 90 percent of those diagnosed with lupus are women, with black women around three more times likely to develop the condition than white women. There are many forms of lupus, but systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common one, accounting for 70 percent of all cases. SLE can affect any part of the body, though 80 percent of cases involve the skin.

Chest pain, shortness of breath, muscle pain, fatigue, fever, hair loss, mouth sores, light sensitivity, anemia, and skin rash are the symptoms for SLE. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus – limited to the skin – and drug-induced lupus erythematosus – triggered by certain prescription drugs – are two other forms of lupus.

The symptoms of drug-induced lupus are similar to those of SLE, but the major organs are rarely affected.

Scales is hopeful he can continue to use his platform to bring the disease to people’s attention.

“As long as I’m a head coach, whether I’m at Cordova or somewhere else, I will continue to do it on the first weekend of December every year without question,” Scales said. “I hope to make it a bigger and better event. Moving forward, we will try to get good teams in it.

“My goal is to get teams in the near future that will travel well. We donate all of the money to the Local Lupus Foundation.”

Since Scales started the classic, he has received great support from Cordova High School and the student body, but he wants more than the people of the Wolfpack family to pay attention to the information he’s providing about lupus.

“I would like for the community as a whole, and the city as whole to embrace it some so we can raise more awareness and raise more money for the disease and the study of it,” Scales said.

“This is a disease the doctors really can’t figure out. They treat the symptoms, and in the end I think will treat the disease itself, but the more money we can raise to help with the research and everything with lupus is very much needed.”