May is Lyme Disease Awareness month. Today, May 16th, on a rainy and unseasonably cold day in Chicago, along with some of my fellow Lyme fighters, I went downtown for a peaceful protest in front of the Illinois State Medical Society Headquarters on the first day of a two-day event.
My friend in Lyme, Jenny, (yes, there were two of us) met me and brought me a lime green t-shirt to wear, with “Team Jenny” written on the back. She and much of her family, spent the last few days preparing signs and t-shirts. The event organizers assembled tote bags filled with pamphlets of information about Lyme Disease for all of us to pass out. There were about 20 of us that showed up today.
Jim , Dave and Bob helped organized the event for all of us. Jim had multiple pages of clever chants and rhymes to leads us in protest for the Medical Society and passersby to hear about Lyme Disease.
It was unbelievable how great of a mood we were all in considering such cruddy weather. Our spirits were high as we handed out tote bags, pamphlets, and tick-removal kits to people walking on Michigan Avenue.
At one point during the day I was struck with the reality that anyone of the people passing by us could have unknowingly been bitten by a tick infected with Lyme. At one time in my life, the idea that a tiny tick could rob me of so much of life was unfathomable. How many women, men and children walked past us that have been infected with Lyme and don’t even know it?
At least 250 tote bags with brochures and pamphlets were given out in a matter of a few hours!
Below is a photo of “Team Jenny” (I’m standing next to Jenny, on my left), with her 3 sisters, daughter, niece and great-nephew. How wonderful to have such support from your family! In addition, Jenny’s sister (on my right hand side) also has Lyme Disease. Sometimes I wonder how many of our own family members might also be suffering from Lyme Disease and not even know it.
For the most part, Chicagoans seemed open to receiving what we had to share with them. Many people even told us their stories or fears of Lyme Disease. One young man revealed he had just recently lost his friend as a result of this devastating illness. So sad.
In the middle of the event, a lady informed us that she did not need our information because her home state of Oregon “doesn’t have ticks.” Lyme Disease has been reported in all 50 states and on every continent except Antarctica. Yes, Oregon does in fact have ticks.
We all desperately need help and healing from Lyme Disease. Hopefully, one day soon, more doctors will take the diagnosis of Lyme Disease seriously as it is affecting so many people around the world .
Our hope for today was to spread awareness to both those passing by and all those working in the Illinois State Medical Society Building. Today was a victory for us as we stood with and supported one another on this cold and rainy afternoon in Chicago.