The 2nd Annual Lyme Walk Niagara is coming on Saturday, June 4/2016
Organizers Mauryah Burattini and Alisha Lemay are hoping to get many participants, but, they are also looking for people who have the disease to come out and see that they are not alone.
“Both of us have Lyme disease, we’ve had it for a while,” Lemay said. “It was a struggle to be diagnosed, for me, I found out from the newspaper that I had Lyme Disease.”
“We want awareness for people so that they know where to go for information, where to go for help, how to be diagnosed, where to go for treatment,“ she said.
“When I thought I had Lyme Disease, I didn’t know who to go to for doctors, and then I had met Alisha when we were both doing some iv therapy,” Burattini said. “She told me where she was going to get help, it was all through word-of-mouth that we were able to get treatment and get better.”
“That’s why awareness is the main goal for our walk,” she said. “We get phone calls and emails on a weekly basis from people.”
“They are just so desperate for help,” she said.
“It’s not just in Niagara,” Lemay said. “I’ve had people across Canada and the United States and from Europe ask me for information.”
Lyme disease is hard to diagnose because it often imitates other problems. It can be misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, Chrohn’s disease, HIV and other autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases.
The funds raised through the Lyme Walk, tee shirt and food sales will be going towards the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Disease which will be Canada’s first Lyme Disease research centre to be located in Toronto.
“They are going to be located at the Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto,” Burattini said. “Mrs. Magnotta has a personal experience with Lyme, her husband sadly passed away from it. She has been a huge advocate for the Lyme community so she created this whole organization to help with research, treatment and diagnosing.”
“They are going to start with Lyme Disease at the centre then move to other vector-borne diseases,” she said.
Last year, they raised just over $5,000 in the Lyme Walk which went to Lyme Ontario. They switched this year to the centre.
Walkers can show up and pay a registration fee for the walk, but, they can also get pledges. Anyone who wants a pledge form can email email@example.com. Also, if someone wish to make a donation, they are accepting e-transfers at the same email address.
One of the highlights of the day’s activities is a free workshop by Dr. Sponaugle. He has treated many Ontario Lyme patients and this is a rare opportunity for education that anyone who has questions about Lyme Disease should take advantage of.
“Anyone wanting to learn about Lyme, their families, this is really worthwhile,” Burattini said. “We’ve heard him lecture before, his lectures are incredible, the amount of information you learn about your body and thing that affect your body that Lyme patients should know about is fantastic.”
“It really opens your eyes to everything that the disease can cause and how many related issues that the patients have,” Lemay said.
“It is a big deal because there are no doctors around here who will openly discuss Lyme Disease,” Burattini said. “So we encourage people to at least come and listen to a medical doctor who has years of experience with this disease.”
Dr. Sponaugle’s free workshop is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“We want people who have Lyme to come together, to listen to the doctor, and the more of us that come together will have a bigger impact with the need that there is in this area for doctors and methods to start treating Lyme,” Burattini said.
The date of the 2nd Annual Lyme Walk Niagara is Saturday June 4th. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. , an introduction/presentation is at 10 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. A bbq and salads with Lyme friendly healthy food happens at 11:00 a.m. and the workshops with Dr. Sponaugle is from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. The walk is at the Welland International Flatwater Centre, 16 Townline Rd.