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ANN CONWAY

Lupus Foundation Gets Righteous Inspiration

July 14, 1993|ANN CONWAY

Linda Hatfield was feeling achy and stiff on Monday night, a little under the weather.

But she fooled the hundreds who attended the Righteous Brothers concert at Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park. (The concert followed the Bobby Hatfield Celebrity Golf Classic, a benefit for the Southern California Chapter of the Lupus Foundation.)

She waltzed around the al fresco dinner show in spike pumps and the drop-dead gorgeous tangerine silk ensemble she wore to the wrap party of "Cheers." Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley had appeared on episodes of the popular television show, she explained.

Nobody would guess she had lupus.

And that's part of the problem.

"We can look healthy," she said. "But we're not. People misunderstand."

Linda Hatfield longs for the days when her face wasn't puffed up with steroids. The days when she could bounce out of bed instead of wanting to rest all day.

She was diagnosed with lupus--a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the body to reject its own cells--in 1974.

"There wasn't much to know about it then," she says. "I just thought I was going to die."

So she went into denial. "I put it out of my mind until, one day, my mom drove me to a lupus rap group. She pretended she was taking me out to dinner.

"I told her I wasn't going in there with all of those sick people. But I did. And it was just what I needed."

If you or a friend has been diagnosed with lupus, make a call to the Lupus Foundation ((714) 426-6026) immediately, Linda said. "Get confirmation of your disease and then join a rap group. They will understand."

When guests weren't bidding on items auctioned off by television sportscaster Ed Arnold, they were schmoozing with the men who recorded the blockbuster hits "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' ," "Unchained Melody," and "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration"--their most frequently requested songs, Bobby Hatfield said.

Among the wide-eyed fans were Tim Berry, producer of "Cheers," and his wife, Tricia.

"We've been fans of the Righteous Brothers forever," Tricia said. "There are a few people in life you lose your cool over. For us, Bobby and Bill are two of them."

Said Tim Berry: "When I was a kid growing up in New York, I had a buddy who used to do the Righteous Brothers thing with me. We had fake microphones--the whole bit.

"He had light hair, so he was Bobby. I played Bill. This is a real thrill for me being here with these guys."

Proceeds were estimated at about $40,000. Also among guests were Kerryn Coffman, president of the Southern California Chapter of the Lupus Foundation, and Carolyn Goode, event chairwoman, who has lupus. "It took 11 years for them to diagnose the disease," she said. "At least they didn't think I was a hypochondriac."

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