If you've been watching me on social media, you'll know I posted a few photos for the Take a Bite out of Lyme Disease Challenge. Obviously, I had to take part in this challenge as the disease has totally stopped my life in its tracks. But here's the thing that I don't think a lot of people know:
The main reason I'm doing this challenge is to raise money for a private organization, ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Disease Society) because the public funding for Lyme is a joke. Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the US and Western Europe. In 2013, the CDC revised their estimates, indicating more than 300,000 new cases were contracted each year in the US. That's an increase up to 10 times previously believed. It's also 10 times higher than the peak of HIV/AIDS in the 1990s.
Yet public funding is far below that of HIV/AIDS or less common illnesses. Compared to the $3 Billion per year for HIV/AIDS, Lyme research only receives $25 million. Other lesser common diseases receive between $100-$200 Million annually.
Don't believe me? Get it right from the horse's mouth on the NIH funding page.
History is repeating itself in that it took thousands of protests from celebrities to raise awareness and get proper funding for HIV/AIDS. While it's unlikely (yet possible) to die quickly from Lyme disease, it does take your life away. The cost to treat this challenging and underserved disease drives many people to disability and even bankruptcy. I'm not waiting for public funding to get on the bandwagon.
That's why I choose to donate my Bite out of Lyme Challenge to ILADS, a community of doctors and researchers dedicated, for decades now, to advancing the standard of care for Lyme and associated tick diseases. I also donate to them because my ILADS doctors and their treatment have made me much more functional, got me out of bed and in front of my camera and computer again. In fact, I'm almost human again, Internet. I still have a long way to go, but I'm on the right track, thanks to ILADS!
Here are a few more facts about Lyme Disease:
Take the challenge! Ten dollars is not a huge amount to donate, but if you can't donate, take the challenge anyway and post your photo and fact on social media to help raise awareness for this worthy cause.
Take a bite, take a photo, post the photo to social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Share a fact about Lyme and tag your photo with #LymeDiseaseChallenge!
Need more facts? Check them out here on Pintrest with pretty colorful graphics! Educate yourselves silly!
Lookie! Even Mr. Wild Dingo took the challenge!
Thank you for reading, Internet. This week, it will be back to my regular goofy shenanigans!
Your recommendation of donating to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society is spot-on. They have the best and the brightest working on this epidemic.
You have me seriously considering a move to Antarctica!