TOUCHED BY LYME: "A lost childhood: The hidden faces of Lyme disease"
LymeTeens, an on-line social network support group for teens with Lyme, has created a video for Lyme disease awareness month.
Chronic Lyme disease is the pits at any age, but it seems to create unique challenges for teenagers. Sixteen-year-old Gabbi Hicks, of Wisconsin, knows all about that. She was an athlete and a real go-getter when suddenly, at age 13, she was struck down by what turned out to be Lyme disease. (They didn’t know that’s what it was at first. And she went through the dreary trudge from doctor to doctor trying to find what was making her sick.)
She spent more than a year in a wheelchair. After 18 months of Lyme treatment, she can leave the chair behind and walk with a cane.
“When I got diagnosed I started a website to share my story & spread awareness,” she writes in an email. “Since then 5 people in my small town of 1,000 have realized they had Lyme through my site. I enjoy making videos as well.”
A little over a year ago she started LymeTeens, an online support group/social network that has grown to about 60 members. “We have teens from the US, Canada, Australia, Norway, & England. I thought it was hard trying to get treated for Lyme in the U.S.–but I’ve found the teens in the other countries have it even worse off.”
There are a lot of Lyme support groups on the internet, but Gabbi says there’s not much there for people her age. “It’s hard for us relate to our friends who are not sick & sometimes hard to relate to adult Lyme patients because we are at different stages in our lives. I have made many friendships through LymeTeens & it gives me the courage to keep going.”
One project that’s come out of LymeTeens is the following YouTube video made for Lyme Awareness Month.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.