Thank you for any support, thoughts, prayers, volunteers, people attending, donations --- a hundred different ways in which you played a role.
It was by all accounts a success with at least 400 people coming out, taking part, being seen, sharing stories and support. We estimate at least 50 people there had Lyme Disease.
This is no longer a rare disease.So many people gave so much of their time to make this dream of mine come true. Without them, it would have remained a dream, or a small event. We have raised at least $12,000 so far and more donations are coming in almost daily. The money is being donated to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and will be put towards more awareness as well as one day creating a testing facility for Lyme Disease in Canada. At the moment, tests in Canada are woefully inadequate and people end up sending their blood to laboratories in the USA. This further skews the number of cases in Canada.
I've contacted newspapers, radio and television before our Walk to ask for reporters to cover the event when it became clear that it would be bigger than I originally thought it might be. There was one photographer from our local paper who took lots of pictures of the sea of green T-shirts streaming by, walking for awareness. Yet, no pictures, no mention, no article appeared and no other media even responded to my messages, calls and voice mails. Today on Breakfast television there was a report about Bicycle month with 200 people coming out - we had double that number out. My friends who have gone with me through this disease for the last several years said it was an eye-opener for them to see so many people with the same story. Surely it should be important enough to pick up by reporters?
I've been writing lots of letters and emails and hope something will get through!
We Lymies feel that this disease is being ignored, not only by the medical profession, but also by the media. There are very few warnings while West Nile gets regular attention. We need the same level of reports and information about Lyme Disease. Transmitted through the bite of an infected tick, the number of Lyme disease cases in the United States has doubled since 1991. At least 27,000 new cases are reported each year. But because of inaccurate tests and under-reporting the actual numbers may be up to 12 times higher, according to the CDC, making Lyme disease an epidemic larger than AIDS, West Nile Virus and Avian Flu combined.
This is a serious condition, stealing people's lives and minds and destroying family relationships, savings and futures. It can become an epidemic, but can be prevented if the public is aware. We really need to show how "not rare" the disease is at this point. Not all Lyme patients are public with their condition, because of various reasons, ridicule and other issues. I am completely open and nothing about my disease is a secret. If it helps someone else, I'm happy to talk.
Thank you cannot cover the grateful feeling in my heart, for everyone who did something to make this Awareness Day the success it was.
We CAN make a difference.