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May 13, 2024 – Lawyers, assistants, and staff at the law firm of Reger Rizzo & Darnall, LLP (RRD) rolled up their sleeves to help spread awareness for lupus, a debilitating chronic autoimmune disease. Last Friday night, the skies around Philadelphia glowed purple in honor of World Lupus Day, an annual day designed to increase the dialogue and raise awareness of the disease. Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide. 90% are women aged 15 to 44.

The glow in the sky is inspired by Joella Blackshear, a legal assistant for RRD who has been struggling with lupus since it was brought on at the birth of her daughter 18 years ago. “Not many people think about lupus because it’s a silent disease,” said Blackshear. “With lupus, you can’t see what’s going on because it’s happening on the inside of the person. It’s killing you inside, attacking all your organs.”

Blackshear’s condition started after childbirth, a common trigger. She struggled for several years before her doctors figured out that she had lupus. Detection is a chronic problem with lupus patients. Suffering from joint pain, extreme fatigue, and hair loss, her condition worsened as her body began attacking her kidneys. Thanks to the diligence of her mother, whose extensive research helped point a finger in the direction of the disease, she finally received her diagnosis. However, the diagnosis comes without many medical options for relief. To date, there are minimal treatments for lupus and more research and development of medicine is needed.

“We want to make sure everyone is informed about lupus. It’s an underfunded and underpublicized disease that needs much more support,” said Louis J. Rizzo, Managing Partner at RRD. “When Joella came to me and asked if we could share information about the disease with all our employees, there was no question, absolutely! But, just sharing it internally isn’t enough; we can do better, and we are – one light at a time.”

With the help of the Cira Centre, a Brandywine Realty property where Reger Rizzo and Darnall has its main office, the mission to turn the lights on landmarks around the city began. On Friday, May 10, the Cira Centre, the Bulletin Building, the FMC Tower, 1735 Market Street, One Liberty Place, the Philadelphia Airport’s tower spine, and the Subaru of America, Inc building in Camden, NJ were all glowing purple, the color recognized for World Lupus Day.

“I’m beyond touched at the support everyone has shown me, but more importantly, the effort to help raise awareness. The road to finding better treatments, medication, and a cure starts with awareness,” said Blackshear.

May is Lupus Awareness Month and the team at Reger, Rizzo & Darnall will continue to spread the word in hopes of increasing awareness, advocacy, and funding for this life-altering autoimmune disease.

For more information about lupus, please visit To view the photo album, please click here.


For more than 30 years, Reger Rizzo & Darnall have been committed to providing dedicated, aggressive, and practical legal advice to individuals, small businesses, charitable and non-profit organizations, and Fortune 500 companies alike. With seven offices in five states and more than 50 attorneys, the firm provides services across a wide range of practice areas, including business services, commercial litigation, real estate, estates and trusts, employment, insurance coverage, and utilities. The firm was recently named to The Legal Intelligencer’s Watch List in recognition of its continued growth and national reach.