Lyme disease is impacting our community, our family, and our friends. Lois Pare is Founder of Kick the Tick Lyme Disease Awareness Group. We spoke with her to learn more about how her group is supporting the community, and how Lyme disease has impacted her life.
Lois, what made you decide to spend your time raising awareness and growing support for the Lyme disease community?
I have Stage 3 Lyme Disease, with full neurological involvement. My life has been taken over with constant treatments and never knowing how I will feel one day to the next. I do not want others to suffer the way I have, in order to gain the information that should have been available to my doctor and I years ago. I have become passionate about spreading my personal story integrated with information everyone should know.
Your experience with Lyme has completely changed your life. As you deal with this disease, what keeps you positive while working towards awareness?
When you have Lyme to the degree I have, there is one hope – no one should ever suffer…this disease does not have to be this way…it will not change unless those of us who have it help spread the word on how to prevent it the best they can and what to do if they do get bit by a tick or feel the symptoms they are having might have something to do with Lyme disease, even if they do not recall a tick bite.
What are the best ways people can educate their communities on Lyme disease and tick bite prevention?
The best way to get the word out there is by having events which highlight this disease and how to care for oneself. There is a need to keep it in the public via brochures and articles. It is through the telling of our stories and learning from those stories that the public will become armed with the power of knowledge – knowledge is power and the more power people have, then we lessen the power of the disease itself.
What are your hopes for the future as a result of your work and the work of those you inspire?
I have a dream, no less that of Martin Luther King…his dream was for peace and equality. My dream is for a future where Lyme disease be eradicated. There is no reason a vaccination for all children should not exist. Freedom is freedom, where it be for race, religion, or health.
For more information, you can contact Kick The Tick Lyme Awareness and Support Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deer ticks can carry and transmit Lyme disease. If you find an engorged tick on you or your loved one, use our Tick Identification Card to identify the species and submit it for testing.