December 31, 2015
As we begin a new year at NatCapLyme, I would like to thank our community as well as our friends around the country for their support during the past year, and wish them all health and happiness in 2016. As a multi-purpose organization, our efforts are focused on helping people with tick-borne diseases through increased awareness, education, support, advocacy and research.
We are proud to share several of our accomplishments during the past year. In 2015, NatCapLyme:
Research & Grants
- Awarded a research grant to support the work of Dr. Kim Lewis at the College of Science at Northeastern University. We were encouraged by Dr. Lewis’ research on a new antibiotic, effective for fighting the drug-tolerant persister cells in Lyme disease.
- Awarded a grant to support the work of Dr. Ying Zhang from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Zhang’s two-pronged research is aimed at identifying optimal drug combinations to eradicate Borrelia persisters and at developing an improved diagnostic test for more effective diagnosis of chronic and persistent Lyme disease. We believe that such research offers hope and encouragement for Lyme patients.
Education & Grants
- Sponsored first-time attending physician attendance at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society 2015 Scientific Conference “Lyme Disease Fundamentals Course” in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Physicians from around the country were awarded grants for their participation and returned to their communities better prepared to treat their patients.
- At the same conference, our legal team conducted a session titled: “Doctor Self-Protection: Legal Safe-Proofing Your Medical Practice.”
- Participated in the 2015 Combined Federal Campaign, educating federal employees from various agencies including 10 districts throughout Virginia and Maryland about Lyme-related diseases. More than 25 educational programs on Lyme disease were presented in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. This included the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Lyme Disease Forum, “Lyme Disease & Tick-Borne Illnesses: A Silent Pandemic” that featured discussions by experts on the physical, neurological, and educational impacts of Lyme disease.
- Worked with county public health officials to bring about Lyme disease awareness, prevention, and treatment through special educational programs in the Virginia counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Loudoun, Giles and Fairfax, and in the Maryland counties of Anne Arundel and Hartford.
- Produced and distributed a series of printed educational materials on tick-borne diseases addressing diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and tick identification for public use. More than 250,000 pieces of literature were made available to the public in 2015.
- Made the final payment, completing a grant for a Lyme Disease Prevention Education & Awareness K-12 Curriculum. National distribution to school districts will begin in 2016. Lyme topics are included in reading/English, language arts, math, science, social studies, and health lessons for each grade level, with supplemental handouts, research-aligned activities, and lessons that enhance the learning of Lyme-related skill sets.
Advocacy & Grants
- We support other local and national advocacy organizations’ efforts to raise awareness about Lyme and tick-borne diseases. We awarded a grant to the Mayday Project for their 2015 IDSA protest event in Rossyln, Virginia and actively participated in legislative education concerning tick-borne diseases by presenting a workshop primer on how Congress works and legislative advocacy to attendees.
- Actively participated in legislative education concerning tick-borne diseases on both the federal and state levels. Worked with other Lyme organizations to educate Senator Richard Blumenthal in designing his bill (S. 1503), encouraging him to keep Congress “focused” on Lyme related issues. Also, to assure transparency and balanced scientific viewpoints, we urged the Senator to conduct frequent and active oversight of the “Working Group” that is to be created by the legislation.
- Held the largest 5K-10K Run for Lyme and tick-borne diseases in the country. At the conclusion of the run, over 700 people took the Lyme Challenge.
- Actively maintained 18 support-group meetings in three states and the District of Columbia. These meetings are an important aid in helping patients regain their health by providing life skills for dealing with daily challenges and illness-related social problems, as well as disability and insurance issues.
- Reached out to minorities with new educational materials and counseling on Lyme and tick-borne diseases, including new Spanish-language brochures and printed materials.
We extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have contributed to the National Capital Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Association over the last year either with a financial donation, by volunteering, or by otherwise supporting our many activities and projects. Help us build on the advances made in 2015. Next year, we want to do even more! The mission of our association can only be sustained by the support of dedicated people like you.
Wishing you and your family good health in 2016!