In April a team of 27 friends took part in Hampshire’s Rough Runner event – a gruelling 10km obstacle course, which took place at Bereleigh Estate, located between Winchester and Petersfield.
Dressed in green, the team was made up of members of About Time for Lyme, a new campaign set up to raise awareness of the growing threat of Lyme disease in the UK.
The team chose to support LymeAid UK for their first fundraising event, a charity that provides grants to individuals who cannot afford to pay for the private Lyme testing they so desperately need. The event was a great success and the About Time for Lyme team managed to raise over £4,300 for the charity.
The inspiration for the About Time for Lyme campaign came from Kellie Maher’s (25, from The New Forest) personal experience with Lyme disease. Kellie has been sick for the past 11 years, however she only discovered Lyme was causing her increasingly serious health problems in 2013, having been misdiagnosed with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and POTs (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia syndrome) for 8 years.
Kellie believes that, had her case been detected and treated appropriately early enough, she would not have developed a seriously debilitating chronic illness, which involved her becoming bedbound or needing a wheelchair to get around, among countless other symptoms.
Tick numbers are on the rise across the UK, as are cases of Lyme disease. As nymph ticks tend to be as small as a poppy seed, people often do not notice they have been bitten. Some people will develop a ‘Bulls-eye rash’, which may lead to a diagnosis of Lyme disease, but not everyone will develop such a rash.
Furthermore, the current UK testing system can miss roughly 50% of cases, and symptoms can mimic those of other illnesses, leading to an alarming amount of cases of misdiagnosis. A general lack of understanding of Lyme and its co-infections in the UK is currently resulting in many thousands of individuals being left to suffer unnecessarily. Along with other UK charities and advocacy groups, including Caudwell Lyme Disease (the charity recently set up by the billionaire founder of Phones 4u, John Caudwell), About Time for Lyme is drawing attention to the current flaws in UK testing and treatment of this disease.
Lady Mar supported Lyme sufferers at Parliament Square in London on 24th May, protesting about the current inadequate NHS test for Lyme, poor diagnosis by GP’s and insufficient treatment for this debilitating disease. Until positive change is brought about on a national scale, About Time for Lyme strongly believe that awareness is currently the best step towards prevention. They are considering registering as a charity in order to be able to continue to realise their aims to improve Lyme awareness and education at a grass-roots level.
You can find more information on their campaign on their social media pages: Facebook: www.facebook.com/ abouttimeforlyme or Twitter: @AboutTime4Lyme. You can also view the video of the team enduring Hampshire’s Rough Runner, with basic facts about Lyme, on these pages.