LymeLight Foundation Grant Recipient, ShainaShaina – Forever Grateful

When I began treatment for Lyme disease my practitioner said that I would be better in six months and would be able to resume life as a normal college girl. Over three years later I look back at that moment and think how did I get to where I am now? In the past three years I had to take a medical leave of absence from school because I was too ill to continue. I lost friends and missed out on a “normal” life for a 22-year-old woman. Anyone who suffers from Chronic Lyme Disease knows that the disease itself isn’t always the worst part. It is the alienation from society and the financial burden that makes this disease so terrible.

After years of my single mother struggling to pay my medical bills and a semi-successful GoFundMe campaign, I still couldn’t afford to pay for my treatment. I vividly remember the day I received my LymeLight grant. It was during class and I immediately ran out of the classroom, burst into tears and collapsed in the stairwell. I called my mother and gave her the best news I had received in a long time. My will to fight Lyme was restored, and for the first time in years I had hope that I was going to be healthy again. I was able to focus on healing rather than figuring out how I was going to afford my next supplement or IV treatment.

After over a year since receiving my first grant I am immensely better. During this time, I found amazing healers who gave me the treatments I needed to heal. I have had great success with UVB, chelation, detox IVs, energy balancing, myofascial release, a cocktail of herbs, and other supplements and treatments.

Throughout this journey, I’ve learned that Lyme disease happened to me for a reason. These past three years have been filled with adversities at their greatest, but now I am stronger than I would have ever thought possible. After five years, I have finally graduated college from Pratt Institute with honors, and I was selected to give the graduation speech in front of 7,000 people at Radio City Music Hall! Following that momentous day, I traveled to Nepal for two weeks, where I worked with my peers designing furniture and a playground for schools. Once I returned, I began my job teaching Design to high school students, and went running for the first time in three years, all in the same week! This is quite a list of accomplishments for me, and they are so much more meaningful knowing how hard I had to work to get here.

Lyme disease almost took everything from me, but now I been given so much because of it. I still have pain, gut problems, and dark days but when things get bad, I just think, “this too shall pass.” It’s always hard to remember when you are screaming in pain or too tired to speak, but Lyme disease is not just the “great imitator”, it is a great gift, and Lymelight only makes this gift clearer to see. I would not be where I am today without the help of the LymeLight Foundation. Words cannot describe how grateful I am. Fighting Lyme disease is an uphill battle that never seems to end, but having organizations like this one gives hope when it is so hard to find. I hope that someday I can help others with Lyme as I had so many help me. This disease cannot be defeated without the support of the Lyme community. Thank you again. I will be forever grateful.

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