Lyme Disease is thought to be caused by the spirochete (a spiral shaped bacteria),
Borrelia burgdorferi, which is similar to the syphilis organism.
Lyme Disease does not discriminate by income, gender, age, or culture.
Current climate changes are creating a higher risk for infection due to an increased tick population.
“…to provide clients and care partners with tick-borne disease
a place to find guidance and emotional support on a path to wellness”
“…to educate the community by providing: material, forums and workshops
on the issues surrounding tick-borne disease.”
“…to advocate for better education, knowledge,
treatment and awareness of tick-borne diseases.”
“…to connect tick-borne disease support and
educational groups across Massachusetts and beyond.”
The search for information and support is difficult. With the number of reported cases growing exponentially each year, the need for reliable information is critical. The internet is an important resource utilizing chat rooms, blogs, and other sources of information. However, there are few physical places available to the Lyme patient to turn to for support. Local group support meetings serve an important function, but most are informal gatherings and do not guarantee privacy.
Navigating complex paperwork and insurance policies is nearly impossible for a patient coping with the severe fatigue, brain fog and pain of this chronic condition, which is becoming known as the “Great Imitator”, mimicking many diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other non-specific musculoskeletal and neurological diseases. This national crisis is an opportunity to establish a model for a resource center that can be duplicated across the country. The controversy over treatment and the existence of the chronic form of Lyme Disease combined with the skepticism and sometimes outright hostility, of people not suffering from this disease, a can cause a chronic Lyme patient to feel lost and alone. Care partners experience the same frustration as they try to obtain medical care, benefits and services for the Lyme patient.
The Lyme Disease Resource Center's mission is to educate patients and their care partners about tick-borne disease, treatment options, and community resources. The Lyme Disease Resource Center accomplishes this by providing a local office with a safe and confidential environment in which clients may make informed decisions about treatment and support options. A wide variety of free services are offered providing training and skills to navigate the medical, government and social issues surrounding Lyme disease, as well as holistic therapies for both Lyme patients and their care partners.
Target service recipients are individuals living in Massachusetts with chronic or acute Lyme Disease and/or other tick-borne illnesses and their care partners. Individuals and organizations providing support and services to the Lyme Disease Resource Center, Inc. (LDRC) also may qualify as service recipients. The LDRC offers benefits to an underserved population of individuals dealing with a complicated disease, and the resulting social, physical and economic impact of chronic illness. Target service recipients include, but are not limited to: children, low income individuals, and individuals with limited, or no medical insurance resources. These individuals are guided to available resources in the community, and offered participation in free activities offered by the center: support groups, holistic therapies to provide avenues for healing not provided by traditional medicine and workshops to increase understanding of the issues surrounding chronic and acute health problems.
As a rural community, Northampton and its local communities will benefit by having a central resource to guide these individuals and support them in the search for physical, emotional and financial resources. More specifically, LDRC provides training and skills to navigate the medical, government and social issues surrounding Lyme disease and care-giving. During hours of operation, the Northampton, Massachusetts based center is staffed by volunteers made up of professional social workers, Lyme patient and care partner peers, and licensed health care professionals familiar with the issues surrounding, disability, caregiving, Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illness. Volunteers are interviewed by the LRDC Board of Directors or the Executive Director, must undergo a CORI check, and supply a resume with references. Volunteers are either recruited from the community, via LinkedIn, recommended to the Board of Directors, or have expressed a desire to assist in the center’s mission.