Rockbridge Letter

Rockbridge Weekly- Letter to the Editor

March 25, 2011

Letter: Lyme Task Force Urges Public Comment

Ellen Douty, Adrienne Hall-Bodie

To The Editor:

Last Tuesday, March 15, 2011, eight Rockbridge Country residents traveled to the James Madison University campus in Harrisonburg to attend a meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Lyme Disease, chaired by Michael Farris. Six of those attending suffer from the disease, and two represented suffering family members.

The audience numbered around forty-five, most of whom were prepared to speak, and the session lasted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. after which the Task Force was moving down to Roanoke for another such meeting. Mr. Farris, whose family has Lyme disease, listened intently as speaker after speaker described their travails in seeking appropriate and knowledgeable treatment.

A common thread was a long list of inaccurate, sometimes insensitive, diagnoses delaying correct treatment while exacerbating the severity of the condition until finally – usually after years of searching and incorrect treatment – a Lyme literate physician was found, often at a great distance. Another was the thousands of dollars – sometimes $100,000 or more – spent on healing treatment, which, for chronic Lyme, can take years.

Finally, the conclusion reached by many long-term sufferers was that they may never completely conquer the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, but that with appropriate medical care, they can live full and active lives.

Many who spoke urged passage and governor’s approval of Del. R. Wolf’s House Bill 512. This bill will protect physicians who treat Lyme disease patients from being hounded out of practice by law and medical boards. And most stressed the desperate need for greater medical insurance coverage.

We only wish that more people from the County who are all too familiar with Lyme disease could have been there, to hear the testimony and to present their stories or those of their loved ones who are afflicted. It is not too late, however, to make your voice heard. You may write to Michael Farris at and testify as to your experience with Lyme disease. He wants and needs to know just how serious this epidemic is.

Adrienne Hall-Bodie

Ellen Douty

Lexington Lyme Support Group

Letter to the Editor