image_pdfimage_print

Manhattan, NY – Sky Club Benefit

Manhattan, NY – Sky Club Benefit


Manhattan, NY – Sky Club Benefit

Remarks of Pat Smith, LDA President Sky Club Benefit Manhattan, NY October 18, 2002


We are gathered tonight to support the war against the most prevalent vector-borne disease in our country. The main battle will be waged here in New York, the state with the highest case numbers, at a prestigious academic institution, Columbia University, directed by nationally acclaimed researcher, Dr. Brian Fallon.
The war is difficult to fight because Lyme manifests in many diverse ways and is often overlooked. Every tissue in the body from joint to eye to brain is a target for the crafty bacterium, which camouflages itself with the body’s own membrane to evade the immune system and joins forces with antibody to evade detection by testing. A delay in diagnosis postpones treatment, with the specter of chronic disease and its potential for physical and mental incapacity looming on the horizon.


Unfortunately, children are often the casualties in this war, and parents watch in horror as this disease marches through woods, fields, back yards and playgrounds, claiming unsuspecting victims as they play in sand boxes, roll in the grass, or romp with their dogs—victims who never notice the tiny speck which can abruptly end their childhood innocence and change sunny smiles to painful grimaces. Parents, suffering vicariously, may find themselves unable to cope mentally, physically, or financially. Families are torn apart, divorces are frequent; denial of the disease by one parent is high.
Look around. How many families in this room have been personally affected? How many of your children, spouses, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends are victims? How many more are yet to be? How many are absent tonight because they have succumbed to the struggle against Lyme disease?


Fortunately, the Lyme Disease Association, and its affiliate, the Greenwich Lyme Disease Task Force, have teamed up with Columbia and other national researchers to combat this powerful enemy in a battle that will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Using state-of-the-art brain imaging and other tools, they will examine the effects of disease and treatment on the brain and other organs and will search for the elusive “gold standard” test for Lyme.
This grass roots effort by the unpaid volunteers of the LDA and GLDTF needs your help. A serious personal and financial commitment on the part of everyone in this room tonight can change the face of the battlefield. Research monies can provide maps, medicines, and medical knowledge to bring our arsenal into the 21st century. We can conqueror Lyme disease and relegate it to medical history, or we can watch as it strikes down our loved ones. We have made our commitment. The choice is now yours. Thank you.