You make big dreams. You think big thoughts. You never think in your wildest dreams that you can actually do what you want to do. You make contacts. You practically beg and you get denied. It is amazing how much difference a year makes. In December 2013, my PICC line was put in and I decided that I was too sick to do an event in May 2014. I was adamant that I would not do anything “big” – that I would set back and let others take charge. There was no way I could physically handle any big event in May 2014.
Then – May 2014 happened. I was told something at the end of April that made me angry. It made me angry enough to think that maybe I should do something in May after all. What was this that made me so angry? A local hospital told a patient that Lyme Disease did NOT exist in NC and there was no way she had Lyme Disease; then, he refused to treat her. She pulled off the tick after it had been attached for quite some time. She had the bull’s-eye rash. She had the joint pain, fatigue and flu like symptoms. Why wasn’t she being treated? Because the doctor was either too stubborn, too scared OR without the knowledge that Lyme actually is in North Carolina. Did I mention that the patient had actually gone on vacation near Lyme Connecticut and possibly got her tick bite there because she found it when she returned from vacation? So add to her list, she had recently returned from a very endemic area of Lyme, but the doctor refused to acknowledge it. It’s only one of several things that I’ve heard recently and I knew that I had to take charge once again – picc line & all.
Then a few days later happened I was contacted by someone that asked if I would be interested in having a booth at the Legislature Building. I hesitated only long enough to type out the word ABSOLUTELY. Then I began to panic. How would it be received? Would I be in a high traffic area? How much stuff should I bring? Would I get to help me? I sent out an immediate email to a handful of Lyme Leaders in NC and received an immediate reply from the NC Lyme Disease Foundation.
Over the next few weeks, I took my time getting things together and the week before – began putting together 50 Green Baggies with basic information along with things from our state department of public health – and the two proclamations recently signed by our Governor. We ran out of baggies ½ way through our day. I have no doubt that we could have given out three times as many baggies as we made. The best part – is that everyone that received baggie spoke to us at least a couple of minutes and some for up to 10 minutes. This is amazing since the people stopping where there to work and for meetings.
There were only a few “glitches” in the morning time. Our tables weren’t there yet (I requested 2 tables – and the only thing that was there was a very small 4 foot table that wouldn’t have even fit 25% of what we had at least not professionally). Then the room was so warm that the banner wouldn’t stick to the table because of the humidity so we had to improvise and use clips. It was also extremely crowded so it was hard to get everything together and move tables around to get it how we wanted. IF everything had been in the right place (the 2 tables) – we could have gotten it set up in 10 minutes, but it probably took 30 minutes in total (which still isn’t bad).
Someone that knew of the event told WTVD (our local abc station) when they found out that they were currently working on a story about Lyme Disease. By the time WTVD arrived, we had already been talking to many people about Lyme Disease – I put more stuff on the one table so that it looked “fuller” and so he wouldn’t have to film both tables. We aren’t sure when the footage will air (or if any footage will air), but he interviewed the Jan – the treasurer of the NC Lyme Disease Foundation. Today, they will interview the President & a local LLMD. Our main points to the camera man yesterday was that we would love for a law to be passed that allows Lyme doctors in NC to treat freely for Lyme as they see fit without fear of discipline.
We were in a very wonderful location. It was the lobby where people walked over from the General Assembly for meetings. There were lots of people from different organizations there and it was such a wonderful success
In the morning, we were fortunate to have Jan & Jennifer there hustling & bustling with the morning crowd. When they were there, I felt confident enough to leave knowing that everything was in great hands! One of the unexpected things is that my husband & I walked over to the General Assembly to create a buzz about Lyme Disease & our booth over in the LOB. We went into several offices on the 2nd floor and gave them information so they wouldn’t need to walk over to us if they weren’t headed over that day. We left a package for Phil Berger and Thom Tillis’. My husband was sharing that we are trying to help them. And as we were talking, another man in the area overheard our conversation and said, “Wow that’s refreshing” and I know he wasn’t talking about the free ice cream he was eating (not from us, but another organization was there giving out ice cream). I personally think Tom Tillis’s office was just pleased to have visitors that weren’t picketing, protesting or calling him an idiot.
All of this happened before noon. I was feeling quite tired already at this point so went downstairs to grab some lunch and rest. Throughout the day we had so many Lyme supporters either stop by to support or to lend a hand in talking with our table visitors. So thankful for all of them. It was truly the first time that I’ve felt like great strides were made in educating a whole slew of people in one day. It was truly a dream come true for me. Whenever I plan for events, I Plan big and leave feeling a little bit disappointed that I didn’t really make an impact. However I always tell myself that I helped one person and it was worth it. But yesterday – I left so excited and it was well worth every bit of exhaustion, pain and set back I’ll experience this week – because it was the BEST RESPONSE we’ve ever had.
Thank you so much to all of our volunteers and supporters for yesterday. Beth & I worked all day long. We were there from 9:15 to 5:-09. (It only took 9 minutes to pack up everything!) Take down is always quicker than set up. In the afternoon we had John & Bobby. We also had other Lyme visitors and volunteers – that popped in for an hour or two here and there. Such amazing support – and – yes – I let them help me to the car – and I carried NOTHING. First time ever that I’ve finished an event and not had to carry anything back to the car. They carried everything for me.
Truly yesterday was a case of big dreams come true.