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Jackie Morris puts brave face on lupus for Caribbean- and African-Americans

12/7/2011, 7:41 p.m.

Jackie Morris, a Jamaican Brooklynite and co-author of the book "Mastering the Art of Success" with Jack Canfield and Les Brown, hosted a special fundraiser for Ryan's Hope for Lupus Foundation to benefit Caribbean- and African-Americans who, like her and son Ryan, are battling the painful and dreaded disease.

The gala, which was co-hosted by Trinidadian-Brooklynite and film producer Roger French, took place last Sunday and featured performances by Chrissy Love, Face and Marcus Terrell and young up-and-coming artists Morris has helped nurture through her Rock Status workshops.

Morris often admits to having been on her deathbed a decade ago while enduring a valiant struggle with lupus. As she was unable to leave her bed for weeks, her friend French-who was producing a film on the first floor of her Fort Greene brownstone with Ruby Dee, Isaac Hayes and May May Ali-made arrangements for his esteemed cast to visit Morris at her bedside. Morris cites in particular the humility, kind words and encouragement of Hayes as key motivation in pulling her through her near-death experience.

Today, recognizing the power of inspiration while making it through a big disease, Morris wants to help inspire other sufferers of lupus, a disease that afflicts many Caribbean- and African-Americans, but flies under the radar of better-known sickle cell anemia. Morris, who also marked her 50th birthday at the affair, sees the occasion as her 10th year of rebirth living with lupus.

For more info, visit www.rockstatus.com.