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 email@example.com.
- February 23, 2012 at 8:25 am
I think this is great, but it is a little too controversial for a pageant platform. They don’t want girls with controversial issues like Lyme disease. They want someone who is not going to “rock the boat” with their platform topic. They want someone who is against euthanizing puppies.
- February 23, 2012 at 11:37 am
Her platform speaking about Lyme disease can save lives!!!! Doesn’t get any better then that!
- February 24, 2012 at 11:46 am
Right on Cathy!
- June 7, 2012 at 3:14 am
Angela! I competed in the Miss Draper pageant and won with Lyme disease as my platform. I am competing in Miss Utah next week. The more girls we can get involved in this, the more success we will have. Mrs. Utah, Jenny Bezzant, has the same platform. She has done amazing things. I hope we can somehow get in contact! The Lyme war can be won. Someday.
- February 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm
I think it is wonderful that Angela is standing up for Lyme’s Disease Education and representing all the “Lymies” out there. As a Chronic Lyme’s Fighter, diagnosed approximately 28 years too late, Lyme’s is a daily battle. I have never experienced such roller coasters as I have in the last year and a half of treatment. I try to learn something new every day to give to my doctor. It gives me a sense of Hope. So, thank you, Angela. You are doing a wonderful thing for the Lyme’s Community and those around our country that need education. Praise God for you!
- February 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm
Rock on Angela! Thanks for using your platform to aid in Lyme Awareness…. And Good luck in the pageant….. Keep us posted on how it goes! Maybe have small pieces of lyme green paper with the petition web address on it to remind people to go sign the petition! 🙂
- February 24, 2012 at 11:52 am
I’m so proud of Angela for doing this. I grew up in Sonoma County and even went to Sonona State University where I got a degree in environmental education. I went on to teach science on the trails all over the county and neighboring cities. I was given inaccurate information about Lyme Disease and Ticks and when I was bitten twice in Casadero I didn’t know enough to suspect Lyme. I’ve been ill since 2006 and possibly since my first bite in 2003. I no longer work and am so happy to see this beautiful girl spreading the message about one of the fastest, incredibly awful, and most preventable illnesses. I just wish that she’s do her presentation school-wide instead of just in the dorms. I also think it would be powerful to educate those most at risk, the environmental studies students. Good luck Angela! I routing for you!!!! Make us all proud.
- February 26, 2012 at 8:25 am
Angela, I wish you luck in educating about Lyme. I am newly diagnosed, still learning every day.
If you’ve seen Under Our Skin, you know that Lyme, especially chronic Lyme, is controversial and there are many politics involved. I really hope that if your choice of Lyme as your pageant topic gets you disqualified (they may make up another excuse for disqualification, and avoid further controversy), you will persevere through other venues. Thank you for your brave efforts so far and best of luck to you!
We invite you to comment on our Facebook page.
Visit LymeDisease.org Facebook Page