Bethesda, MD. (June 20, 2016) – The Lyme Disease Challenge, a campaign for Lyme Disease, made strides this year and “took a bite out of Lyme” by spreading global awareness with support from athletes, celebrities, politicians, and a total of 45 countries, raising over $100,000 to support training for doctors, and research through International Lyme & Associated Diseases Educational Foundation (ILADEF), a non-profit of International Lyme and Associated Disorders (ILADS).

Lyme Disease is a systematic disease that has a huge impact on every aspect of a patient’s life–family, career, and finances. Due to lack of education and awareness of Lyme Disease, finding accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment is a struggle for patients. According to research composed by John Hopkins University, more than 63% of patients treated for Lyme Disease continue to have debilitating symptoms after treatment.

Advocacy is critical as this growing epidemic affects more people than breast cancer, hepatitis, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS, colon cancer, and West Nile Virus. Yet, Lyme receives less funding due to a lack of awareness and understanding of physicians, legislatures and the general population at large. Increased funding is needed to develop accurate diagnostic testing and treatments that can aid those with late stage Lyme Disease and co-infections.

The Lyme Disease Challenge was started with little to no funding in 2015 and was fully supported by eager volunteers. During Lyme Disease Awareness month in May, volunteers were able to unite community members, encourage them to share their story and raise much needed awareness through social media platforms. The media embraced the campaign as did the participation from public figures such as: Ally Hilfinger, Yolanda Foster, Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach), Eileen Davidson, and Lisa Rinna.

With more than 107,000 downloads of the Lyme Disease Treatment Guidelines, ILADS provides educational materials to support the recovery of Lyme Disease and co-infections. ILADS recognizes the severity of Lyme Disease and associated diseases as well as the chronic manifestations that develop from these diseases. Due to the staggering increase of Lyme cases reported each year, ILADS encourages physician discretion in determining the appropriate treatment for their patients and rejects inaccurately developed guidelines fostered by physicians who are not Lyme-literate and by insurance companies. The ILADS physician training program provides extensive information, research documentation and peer-developed guidelines with the goal of educating future doctors on the severity of Lyme Disease and bringing additional support to those suffering from late stage Lyme.

To learn more about the campaign and make a difference visit: www.lymediseasechallenge.org