TOUCHED BY LYME: Miss Sonoma County contestant chooses Lyme awareness as her platform
The 19-year-old college student wants to educate people on the severe consequences of Lyme disease.
19-year-old Angela Laird will compete next month in the Miss Sonoma County pageant. Like her fellow contestants, the Sonoma State University student will sing, dance, answer questions about current events, and model swimsuits and evening wear. However, the pageant also asks the young women to have a platform—an issue they care deeply about, an issue they want to help educate the public about. Angela’s platform is Lyme disease awareness.
Two years ago, while Angela was still in high school, a tick bit her on the foot. Soon, she developed a classic bull’s-eye rash, along with some unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, headaches and nausea. Eventually, she was treated with antibiotics and her symptoms subsided. A cousin of hers also caught Lyme and was not so lucky; she was seriously ill for a long time before being diagnosed and treated.
Even before getting involved with the pageant, Angela found herself doing Lyme awareness activities almost by accident. “At one point, I posted some photos of my tick bite on my Facebook page. A friend of mine saw them and realized that she had a rash that looked just like it. So she went to the doctor and got diagnosed with Lyme disease, too.” (Note to readers: Sonoma County is one of California’s Lyme “hot spots.”)
Her platform is titled “Get Ticked Off About Lyme Disease.” She’s currently planning a Lyme educational event to be held next month in the dorms at Sonoma State. She plans to show excerpts of the documentary Under Our Skin and share information about Lyme disease. “People need to get educated on what Lyme disease is and how severe its consequences can be.”
The Miss Sonoma County pageant is the initial step towards the Miss California and Miss America pageants. If Angela continues on, she’ll have an even broader audience for her Lyme message. We wish her well!
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.