LOS ANGELES — Adult industry veteran Dennis DeSantis, better known as Dennis D., is the honorary Lupus Hero for Lupus LA for the month of August.
The seasoned executive devotes a lot of his free time to raising awareness and money to battle lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes a chronic inflammatory condition. His mother Linda passed away from the disease.
Lupus LA is a non-profit organization founded in 2000 that serves the needs of people with lupus and their families in L.A. County and across Southern California.
DeSantis' dedication and passion for the cause was the subject of a recent Lupus LA feature story that detailed his work behind the scenes.
The text of the article appears below:
"The one thing you learn about Dennis DeSantis almost immediately after you meet him is that he’s passionate. He never stops moving and is one of the most motivated people in the lupus community. As a self-made entrepreneur, Dennis has been involved in the entertainment industry and the finance industry, and he’s about to be an author. But that’s not where you see the real passion in Dennis; you see it when he talks about his mother and her struggle with lupus.
"The youngest of three children, Dennis was born in Coney Island, New York, and was always extremely close to his mother, Linda DeSantis. About five years agao, Dennis, along with others in his family, noticed that his mother just wasn’t acting the same. She was tired and she wasn’t cooking up a storm as she usually did — she just wasn’t herself. When Linda first saw her doctor, she was, as is often the case, misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
"A month later, she was diagnosed with lupus, and unfortunately, just three months after her diagnosis, Linda lost her battle with lupus. But from that sadness and despair a real lupus hero was born.
"Dennis made it his mission to educate the world about lupus and to raise money for lupus research, lupus patients, and lupus families. Dennis reached out to his dear friend Nicole Paxson, who herself has lupus, and Nicole immediately put Dennis in touch with Lupus LA. Coincidentally, the timing couldn’t have been better as Lupus LA was in the process of developing a young professionals group to produce a new event, the Get Lucky for Lupus LA celebrity poker tournament and party. Dennis jumped right in, rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He contacted all the celebrities and small business owners he knew, and anyone else who would listen, and pitched the event with his trademark passion.
"Get Lucky for Lupus LA is now in its seventh year and is the fastest growing Lupus LA event each year. Since its inception, the poker event has tripled in revenue and doubled in attendance. Dennis was awarded the first Lupus LA Ace Award in 2012 and has continued to grow his support for the organization each and every year. He has been responsible for bringing in new faces, auction items, and celebrities and has sold countless tickets along the way.
"But Dennis’ dedication doesn’t end with the poker event. He is a constant presence at the Orange Ball and the Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon, and he’s always on the lookout for new ways to raise awareness and money to fight this disease. As Dennis says, 'I’m a persistent New Yorker who thrives on giving back.' The partnership Dennis has formed with Lupus LA is also a really important piece of the puzzle. 'If you’re battling lupus, Lupus LA should be your first stop,' Dennis continues. 'It’s the best organization for raising awareness.'
"Dennis wears a lot of hats in his life, but his most important is the one he tips to the memory of his mother. Day in and day out, he works to make sure that his lupus story isn’t repeated by others. He is a true lupus hero and Lupus LA is lucky to have him on our side."
Tickets for this year's Get Lucky for Lupus LA event are on sale at lupusla.org.