This year has been another busy one for the Lyme Disease Association (LDA). We have now been working for Lyme and tick-borne diseases (TBD) for 29 years, with individuals who are patients and family members of patients driving the programs. We care about you, your family, your friends, your pets, who have or might acquire Lyme disease and other TBD. That is why 97% of our funds go directly to programs most years. By donating today you can help us continue our programs to help Lyme patients.
Over time, we have awarded 119 research grants (4 in 2019) which have resulted in 53 peer-reviewed journal articles. In 2019, one was published in Meta Gene which examines a possible correlation between genes and chronic Lyme. Publishing moves the scientific field forward and brings us closer to a cure. We’ve awarded 138+ education grants over time to other Lyme organizations and institutions who are providing programs, materials, and help to patients. To date, our LymeAid 4 Kids program has awarded $383,000+ in grants to families across the US who have financial difficulty, to help with their children’s medical expenses ($38,000+ in 2019). We have distributed millions of pieces of literature on Lyme & TBD and have provided a doctor referral system resource (with a brand new one coming in 2020). We continue to have no employees and utilize consultants to provide the expertise we may need.
We again partnered with Columbia University to provide our 20th Continuing Medical Education Conference designed for doctors and researchers with 23 experts in various aspects of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases—a conference known to provide diverse views on controversial topics so that attendees, who include the public as well as medical providers, can ask the hard questions in a transparent venue.
We continue to educate public officials. In 2019, we briefed the Senate Aging Committee and Members of the House of Representatives staff, and we spoke at a Congressional press conference. LDA drove efforts which have added more monies to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) under the Department of Defense, which provides grants for TBD research that affect the military, their families, and the public. This effort added additional funds to the CDC’s regular appropriations. Additionally, our decades of government education pushing for focus on Lyme & TBD resulted in a bill signed by the President last week which will provide monies for the development of a national strategy for vector-borne diseases including TBD, and will add separate funds that will flow through the federal government to state health departments for help identifying and controlling TBD.
In addition to my LDA work, I sit on the HHS Working Group (TBDWG) as a public member, in my second term, helping to drive recommendations to Congress on Lyme & TBD. The 2018 report that was produced by the TBDWG contained recommendations that often dovetail with LDA efforts. I have also served on the CDMRP Programmatic panel since its inception (4 years), and the grant work I do through LDA provides me with a better understanding of the entire research process necessary to the work on CDMRP.
We are transparent. You can review the programs we provide on the website at LymeDiseaseAssociation.org, and our financial reports are on Guidestar.org. Help us provide a healthier New Year for people everywhere.
President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc.