Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
at Opening of Lyme & Tick-Borne
the discovery of Lyme disease over 30 years ago in Connecticut, millions of
people have acquired it in the United States alone, yet its sickest victims
have been treated like Lepers, banished to a shadowy world where doctors are
afraid to treat and where researchers on only
one side of the controversy surrounding Lyme are usually funded.
While battles rage, patients die—and doctors are targeted for
treating, and children are taken away from parents whose only crime is
having their children treated for Lyme disease.
is the world many of us mothers faced at the turn of the century, when some
impatient moms, who had originally met in 1998, took matters into their own
hands. Diane Blanchard, Debbie Siciliano, and I, met and conceived of the
idea of developing something at
the journey began: three mothers, a researcher, and 2 attorneys spending
hours in meetings hammering out what the center would be like, how the
monies would be used, who would guide the center.
From the seed of the Center idea
to the time of full funding, Lyme disease reported cases increased by almost
1/3, and our chronological ages increased by 7 years. One of us became a
Center Director and may have acquired a few gray hairs in the process :),
two of us became mothers of high schoolers, and one had her last child
graduate from college and acquired the title of grandmother, a title that
will be bestowed upon me two more times this summer. In hindsight, 7 years
was the blink of an eye, but for suffering patients, it has been an
eternity. These patients are why we are here today.
center has been our dream, a dream that started with a strong partnership, a
dream that required thousands of man hours, and woman hours, to bring it to
fruition today in these hallowed halls of
marks the beginning of a new era, one in which chronic Lyme disease will
finally have its day in the sun, where its deadly secrets
will be exposed for all to see. Like
any commencement, today signifies the passing from one stage to the next:
today from dream to reality, and tomorrow passing into the future reality
where the work is already progressing toward the cure for chronic Lyme
disease. When that cure happens, I will not be on this podium but dancing in
the streets, with my partners, Di & Deb, who will probably be holding me
upright by then.
this time, I want to thank all of those esteemed scientists who have agreed
to serve on the Center advisory board and everyone who has come today,
especially the speakers and Dr. Ben Beard from the Centers for Disease
Control & Prevention who came all the way from Ft. Collins Colorado to
share in our celebration today.
thank all of those who have helped in this endeavor, an awesome effort,
considering it has been done with all volunteers and both groups have scored
other major accomplishments at this same time. We had total commitment from
our attorneys (Phil Marella TFL, Jurij Mykolajtchuk, LDA), our boards (LDA
board stand—Pam Lampe, Corey
Lakin, Ruth Waddington, Kim Uffleman, Inge Querfeldt, Linda Davis, Joan
Wire, Jeannine Phillips), and our advisory boards. I particularly want to
acknowledge my Executive Vice President, Pam Lampe, whose hard work behind
the scenes is only exceeded by the tons of emails and phone calls I made to
her over time, demanding actions no real person could complete, yet she did.
thank those who took time from their busy personal schedules to lend their
support, like LDA’s Literati with Lyme: Amy Tan, Meg Cabot, Jordan Fisher
Smith, E. Jean Carroll, Jennifer Weis, and Rebecca Wells, and LDA’s
national spokesperson, Mary McDonnell who graciously joined us at the both
the kickoff and the opening celebration today. Then
we have LDA chapters, affiliates, & supporters nationwide, the doctors,
researchers, and the patients, who laughed with us, cried with us, and
worked with us.
especially thank the donors, who without fan fare, have been so
charitable to us, and without whose generosity, this dream could not have
become reality. I must not
forget our families who have been so emotionally supportive of us and
forgiving of the time we have spent on this project —our children, who
have been an inspiration to us.
thank the Columbia team, Dean of
the Medical School, Dr. Lee Goldman; Dr
Jeffrey Lieberman, Chair of Department of Psychiatry; and former Dean Dr.
Gerald Fischbach, supportive since the Center’s inception, and of course,
Dr. Brian Fallon, whom I first met in 1993 when he gave a talk in a church
basement in NJ for us. Rumor has it, he still gives the same talk today, and
I guess we’ll find out later in the program. He has probably breathed a
huge sigh of relief thinking he is now able to leave behind these three moms
who have run him ragged for many years and be able to close himself into his
lab, roll up his sleeves, and get to work. Little does he know, however,
that relief is short-lived—we moms will be outside that lab door, peering
in, banging on the glass for his attention, until he and the other Center
researchers find that definitive test and ultimately, a cure for chronic
but never least, I thank my partners and dear friends, Deb & Di, for
their shared vision, their leadership, their dedication, and their
camaraderie. United, we stood, and united, we stand. Surely, a Lyme Disease
Research Center built on that kind of foundation shall be nothing but
successful. Thank you.
Last Modified: May 02, 2007
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