Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raising awareness of Lyme Disease - Australian Girl Guide

Imagine becoming paralysed from just one small tick. Some ticks carry Lyme Disease, which can lead to paralysis and many other health complications.

Cessnock Girl Guide Lauren Gray is raising awareness of the disease for the main focus and service element of her Queens Guide.

Lauren realised the impact Lyme Disease can have when she met Hannah Coleman at the Guides’ “Be The Change” conference in Sydney in September.

Hannah was wheelchair-bound after being bitten by a tick at a Guide campsite months before. She also suffered chronic fatigue, breathing difficulties and was put on IV treatment.

She has since undergone aggressive treatment with an American doctor and is once again walking, talking and eating.

“The weekend that we first met I got bitten by four ticks which freaked me out to the max,” Lauren said.

“My goal is to raise awareness and ‘slime Lyme disease’. Myself and friends of mine will be taking turns at spending time in a wheelchair for a week. I am hoping that this will raise awareness of the disease and that anyone can be affected by one simple tick.”

Lauren and a few of her friends at Kurri High School will spend time in a wheelchair at school from February 23 to March 3, and on the last day will hold an out-of-uniform day where everyone will dress in green for the cause.

The Cessnock District Girl Guides will hold a fun day at Kurri Aquatic Centre on Saturday, February 26.

“Lyme disease is a serious matter and affects hundreds of Australians. The more people who know and become aware of the disease, affects and cause the quicker they can get diagnosed and treated the better," Lauren said.

Lyme disease is caused by certain ticks carrying bacteria and if left untreated can have serious affects.

Early symptoms include unexplained fatigue and flu-like symptoms. Chronic symptoms include effects to the head neck, face, eyes and vision, ears and hearing, digestion and excretory system, respiratory and circulatory system and neurological system, physical wellbeing, mental capability, reproduction and general wellbeing.

“All of these affects from one tick gives a new meaning to being ticked off!” Lauren said.

All money raised at this fun day will go towards helping the Lyme Disease Association of Australia bring doctors over to Australia to provide education on treating Lyme disease patients.

Kurri Aquatic Centre’s inflatable island will be set up and the Guides will hold a barbecue and raffle. Normal pool entry fees will apply.

Lauren is seeking donations, raffle prizes and sponsorship for her project. For more information on Lauren’s project or to make a donation, phone (02) 49361627 or email

Quoted from newspaper article in THE ADVERTISER, February 23, 2011.

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