LymeLight Foundation Grant Recipient, Elijah

Elijah – A Future of Endless Possibilities

Hindsight is 20/20 or so they say. There have been moments in my journey that have had the lowest of lows, but standing now at the highest of highs, I wish I could go back and reassure the persistent spirit I had that it would all pay off. I had been sick most of my life. Though no one was looking for symptoms of tick-borne illness at the time, I remember having symptoms as early as five years old.

About 15 years later, I had become so sick with advanced, late-stage, neurological Lyme disease and co-infections that I could barely work, attend online college classes, spend time with friends or family, be active, or even take care of myself. I was an undergraduate in the “prime of my life” wishing I could partake in the activities my friends were doing and really give life my all. I thought my life was over as I knew it. Dreams of pursuing education, past undergrad, homeownership, etc., all felt completely unattainable to me. No one tells you when you are sick for a long time that you mourn the life you had and also the life you could have had, before you move on to a state of re-building. BUT I did just that: I healed and rebuilt.

When I moved back home from college and in with my mom, I was able to see a fantastic Lyme-literate doctor who wanted to use a combination of herbal and antibiotic therapies. However, I was unsure how we would afford the ever-growing treatment costs. Fortunately, we were referred to LymeLight Foundation and applied. I remember clearly how I was so surprised with being awarded a LymeLight grant, I cried tears of joy.

These funds allowed me to continue getting adequate care, which we could not have afforded on our own. In 2022, after about four years of painstaking treatment, many doctor appointments, and practicing the dynamic neural retraining system, I was finally at a place where I felt the best I had ever felt.

I have been in remission since 2022 and have been living life to the fullest. My experience with Lyme inspired me to go into public health and made me the person I am today. I finished my undergraduate degree in public health during the pandemic, worked in public health during the COVID-19 response, and fulfilled my dream of becoming an epidemiologist shortly after. I helped build a new health department, became a new homeowner, and am just one semester away from graduating with my master’s in public health epidemiology and applied biostatistics.

I could not be more grateful for the support I had and hope that my story will inspire others to keep fighting, be persistent, consistent, and to chase their dreams.

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