Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who even knows anyone who’s had Lyme?

Every morning I check my email. there is always at least one Google news alert regarding Lyme disease in my inbox. Generally the articles hardly pique my interest. Half the time they are not even about Lyme disease at all.

This morning was no different, the article was called, Swine Flu: How not to be Stupid. It was essentially about being safe and smart about protecting yourself from swine flu. I have to admit, the article is not a bad article at all. It is simple, to the point and despite the topic, fun.

Except for this jab in the third paragraph-

…More people have died from Lyme disease in the last 300 days than from swine flu. Who even knows anyone who’s had Lyme disease…

EXCUSE ME! “Who even knows anyone who’s had Lyme.” Well OK, I have to admit that I actually did not know anyone who’d had Lyme before I got diagnosed, but that is because of ignorance. Exactly like this statement, written out of ignorance.

Now if you know me or if you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I am all about staying positive and this may seem totally out of character. Well, I was angry. I believe that one of the main problems Lyme disease is faced with is ignorance. The lack of awareness and education of the disease is appalling.

I decided to write a letter to the editor to tell her how I felt and suggest she and the author spend some time becoming educated about Lyme disease.

Then I went and harassed my twitter friends until they started re-tweeting (RT) my call urging, or I guess after so many tweets I should say demanding, they also write to the Editor. Thanks Tweeple.

Now here I am urging you to do the same. It does not have to be a response to this particular article, but I encourage you to respond to articles you agree and disagree with to help spread the word about Lyme disease. If there is no media interest in the topic there will be no change. We need our voices to be heard. We need to be a part of the Lyme education process. No one knows more about the realities of our disease than we do.

side note: I do realize that the article in question is from a Student Pulication of a University. I do not see that as a excuse for inaccuracy. I even see it as an added positive, we have just educated some of tomorrow's Journalists about Lyme.


Alix said...

I agree, Ashley, that the student who wrote the article and the people who read the school paper need to learn this lesson. Calling out a particular group in a disparaging way will get you into journalistic trouble.

Nonerz said...

Oh Ashley, please DO tell me how to contact them! I will be happy to make a call or write a letter.

lymenaide said...

Hey Nani, the link to the article is in the post (article title).
I did get a response from them. They assure me there was no intent to offend any Lyme sufferers and that the author was, as I suggested, ignorant of the realities of Lyme disease. I don't mean ignorant in an offensive way, only to say unaware.
I am proud that because of those of us who wrote to the paper there are more people out there now who know about how serious Lyme disease really is.