Laura Harris from Lee-on-the-Solent, is attempting to educate people about the disease throughout May’s Wake up to Lyme campaign while raising funds for charity Lyme Disease UK.
Mum-of-two Laura, who has received tick bites twice, is currently receiving treatment through a specialist doctor in Washington, USA, for late stage chronic Lyme disease which had hosted itself in her brain.
Laura’s daughter Elisha, 13, has also been diagnosed with the condition and is undergoing a more homeopathic treatment.
These treatments are tackling a wide variety of symptoms, which Laura said can include chronic fatigue, joint stiffness, memory loss, insomnia, headaches and much more.
Laura, who has raised funds through generous donors to help towards her treatment, said: ‘I feel so blessed to be on it. I feel lucky to know [I have it] because of the hundreds of thousands of people who don’t, but also to have that drive and spirit to go for it and not let anything get in my way.
‘I’m just so passionate about raising awareness. As awful as the treatment can be, I always go back to how thankful I am to know.’
There are up to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year in England and Wales according to Public Health England, but Lyme Disease UK believes cases may be three times higher than estimated.
Laura has had a lot of support and guidance from Lyme Disease UK, and decided to raise funds for them through creating Hope for Lyme pouches.
These are £4 each, with £3 going straight to the charity, and include two lime-scented wax melts, a tick prevention card, a mint matcha green tea and a hope poem card.
The charity’s campaign aims to educate the public on how important early treatment and prevention is to stop the disease getting worse.
Natasha Metcalf, co-founder and chairman of Lyme Disease UK, said: ‘We don’t want people to be scared of going back outside as the lockdown measures are gradually lifted, but rather go out armed with the facts and knowledge they need to protect themselves and others from Lyme disease. Early intervention is key, and getting that message out to the public is crucial.’
Despite the effects of treatment sometimes making her ill, Laura is still on a mission to do everything she can to raise awareness.
Laura said: ‘For us with Lyme and chronic illnesses, lockdown never ends. It was a more absolute version of how I live.
‘I have still got that belief and hope that I’m going to get through it. I feel positive. I still feel determined to get well.’
Laura, Elisha and their pets will also be participating in Wear Lime for Lyme day on May 7, hoping to raise awareness of the condition by wearing bright clothing.