Does it take a millionaire’s fortune to heal from Lyme disease?
International supermodel Bella Hadid has an estimated net worth of $25 million.
Actress Riley Keough, granddaughter of Elvis Presley, has just been named sole custodian of Graceland mansion and the family shares of Elvis Presley Enterprises, reportedly worth $500 million.
In addition to being super-wealthy, these two glamorous women have something else in common. Both have recently spoken publicly about having Lyme disease—and the challenges they’ve faced in getting well again.
In a cover story in Vanity Fair magazine, Keough says she went to a clinic in Switzerland: “It’s a holistic treatment center and offers all kinds of things that you can’t really do in America yet, like cleaning your blood.”
At about the same time the Vanity Fair issue came out, Bella Hadid posted on Instagram about recently undergoing more than 100 days of intensive treatment for Lyme disease and co-infections, after “15 years of invisible illness.” Although no specifics of treatment are given, accompanying photos suggest that IVs were certainly part of her protocol.
For sick and suffering Lyme patients who are NOT multi-millionaires—typically forced to travel long distances to even find a practitioner who acknowledges their illness, and then must pay out of pocket because insurance companies won’t cover such treatments—these news stories can seem like a cruel joke.
“What do either of these women have to complain about?” is an oft-asked question on Facebook. “If I had money like that, all my problems would be solved.”
But as other commenters on Facebook frequently respond, even having boatloads of money doesn’t necessarily make the problem go away. Bella Hadid’s rich family and her Lyme-experienced mother Yolanda still couldn’t shield her from 15 years of suffering.
However, one thing that such celebrity news coverage certainly does is raise the profile of Lyme disease in the news media. As an example, LymeDisease.org has received a raft of media inquiries in the wake of the Bella/Riley revelations. Just this morning, I received a message from a news service in China, seeking comment on the situation.
Here are just a few examples of the widespread news coverage of Bella and Riley:
Daily Express (UK):
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, President of LymeDisease.org. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide, and of the forthcoming title Finding Resilience: A Teen’s Journey Through Lyme Disease. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.