In Memory of Jean F. Galbreath
The Lyme Disease Community lost a devoted advocate and a compassionate person with the passing of Jean F. Galbreath on 3.14.22 at age 93. She was a powerhouse who worked together with her late husband William to not only help patients find appropriate health care and educate the public, but also to help educate the Maryland legislature on the merits of any pending Lyme legislation. .
Jean was President of the all-volunteer Harford County Lyme Disease Support Group Inc. (HCLDSG) for 22 years after organizing the group in 1995 and incorporating it in 1997. Over that time, the group filled a void in education in the area of Harford County, Maryland, a State, which when Jean retired as President, ranked 8th in CDC Lyme case numbers.
The HCLDSG, under Jean’s leadership, hosted many activities over the 22 years to raise awareness and even to raise funds for the national non-profit Lyme Disease Association’s (LDA) LymeAid 4 Kids fund for families across the US who are financially unable to have a child diagnosed or begin treatment for Lyme disease. They group set up tables with education materials and sold mums and homemade baked goods at local events to raise the funds.
Partnering with the national LDA, Jean led the Maryland State effort to defeat a State bill in 2008 which would have been dangerous for patients and physicians alike. She testified about the negative impact it would have on patient treatment. The bill never made it out of the Senate Committee, fortunately for patients.
Jean ran a monthly Lyme disease support group meeting and spent countless hours traveling to schools and businesses to present Lyme programs. She attended many out of state conferences to “bring home” the latest news. She even installed a “Lyme phone” in her own home so that those who suffer from Lyme would not be alone.
Over time, the HCLDSG distributed thousands of free educational materials from the LDA, which they handed out throughout the area at events, while teaching people about Lyme disease symptoms and prevention practices. In 2015, the LDA recognized Jean and the Group by awarding it the Dr. Lis Heininger Memorial Education Grant to be used to support its educational programs. LDA awards the grant to those individuals/organizations who strive in extreme circumstances to help others avoid acquiring Lyme disease.
In the words of Jean upon receipt of the award, “We are excited to expand our advocating and educational role in the community and throughout Maryland.” Expand they did. An example of that expansion was a Touch A Truck program held in Street, Maryland, which drew over 1,000 people who were offered information on Lyme and tick-borne diseases by the support group members.
Lyme advocates have made some headway state by state with people like Jean leading the effort and being a beacon for all to see and follow. Over the years, her kindness, humanity, humility, and devotion to eradicating Lyme disease were readily apparent. She has been a shining example for her sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who have great memories of her as a mother and grandmother and also as a devoted advocate for those who are sick. They can be proud of her accomplishments and will sorely miss her. So will the tens of thousands of Lyme patients she worked tirelessly for over the years. Thank you, Jean, we will all miss you.
Highland Presbyterian Church
701 Highland Rd
Street, MD 21154
Date: Monday, March 21st
Visitation Time: 1:00-3:00 PM
Service Time: 3:00 PM
Jean Fulford Galbreath
4/23/1929 – 3/14/2022
Late Husband: William Calvin Galbreath
8/30/1926 – 4/21/2012
She leaves behind three sons, seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.
Read LDA President’s Blog (2017) – Saluting Jean F. Galbreath & Harford Cty. Lyme Disease Support Group, Inc.
Read on LDA website (2012) – In Memory of William C. Galbreath