Lois Pare: Lyme disease walk seeks to make a difference
To the editor:
Lyme disease can be a life-or-death issue. On May 4, approximately 60 walkers participated in the first walk against Lyme disease in this area, put on by the Kick the Tick Lyme Disease Awareness and Support Group, of which I am founder. Even with Lyme, I am proud to say I made it about 1½ miles.
Since Lyme can affect vision, we had the Lions Eyemobile at the event to offer free screenings. There was a great luncheon, where people with Lyme, or those who wanted to know more about it, could connect.
Trish McCleary, founder of Sturbridge Lyme Awareness of Massachusetts, visited. That group promotes awareness of chronic Lyme and supports those affected. It is working with state legislators to bring forth legislation for better testing and treatment. The mission is to connect with those in need and distribute information that will allow them to find a doctor able to offer good testing and treatment.
State Rep. Ellen Story, the opening speaker, was joined by Leslie Blosson-Hatfield, Carole Davis and myself. We heard personal stories about Lyme and the struggles to get help and treatment.
A memorial service honored people known to have died as a result of Lyme. Though May was declared Lyme Disease Awareness Month by our governor, we need to remember that Lyme is not just a month, it can be a life-or-death situation, 365 days a year.
I would like to thank our many sponsors for this event. Those who would like information about Lyme disease and the Kick the Tick support group can email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can defeat this disease together, for no one should ever have to suffer or die from a tick bite.
Lois Paré is president and founder of the Granby/South Hadley Kick the Tick Lyme Awareness and Support Group.