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Contact: Chris Malinowski 860-525-2000
For: Immediate Release after hrs 860-688-6585

Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Begins With D.C. Rally

Where: Senate Swamp, (northeast side), Washington, D.C.

When: May 3, 2000, 11am - 4pm

Lyme disease season has arrived, and hundreds of advocates are expected to attend a rally at the nation's capitol to highlight the beginning of Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May. The March On Washington, sponsored by the Hartford, CT based Lyme Disease Foundation, begins Wednesday, May 3, at 11 a.m. on the northeast side of the Senate Swamp. Various media organizations, busloads of patients from around the country, and Honorary Chairs Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), and Representative Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey) are all expected to attend the event.

"Overall, the medical community and general public remain under-educated about the various signs and symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-borne disorders," said Lyme Disease Foundation chair Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner. "Lyme Disease Awareness Month is one way to emphasize the importance for people to educate themselves about these diseases and how to prevent them, and this rally is a crucial step to get that message out."

In addition to awareness, the annual event seeks to re-humanize patients from case numbers to people suffering from a debilitating disease and emphasize the need for better diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne disorders. Patients will wear Lyme-green ribbons and many will carry poster signs detailing their battle with the disease and the detrimental impact it has had on their lives. All patients, advocates, and advocate groups are welcome!

The event schedule (subject to change) is as follows:

11:00 - 11:45 - Marching and media interviews at the Senate Swamp Noon - 12:30 - Press Conference Conference will be held at the Senate Swamp (northeast side) in front of the Capitol Building (Driveway area). Senators, Representatives and others will speak.
12:30 - 4pm - Personal visits with Senators and Representatives.

Advocates are encouraged to make themselves identifiable by wearing a bell and green ribbon. For more information concerning lodging and transportation, contact the Lyme Disease Foundation: 960-525-2000.

The Lyme Disease Foundation

The Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF) is the premier national scientific nonprofit dedicated to finding solutions to tick-borne disorders. Founded in 1988, its main areas of focus are on education, research, and advocacy.

The LDF was established by Karen and Tom Forschner, with the support of a dedicated Board of Directors, in response to requests from researchers looking for an organization dedicated to this unknown illness. Researchers needed a place where a balanced debate of differing viewpoints could occur in a scientific forum and new collaborations could be forged. The LDF, its Board of Directors and supporters, then trailblazed into a world unaware of this mysterious infection. Within two years, LDF educational campaigns had made "Lyme disease" household words. The LDF's Partnership Logo, symbolizing four hands together, represents the four cornerstones of progress working together to find solutions: science, business, government, and the public.

As the leader in the fight for solutions to tick-borne disorders, the LDF conducts annual medically accredited International Scientific Conferences, publishes a peer-reviewed scientific publication, Journal of Spirochetal and Tick-borne Diseases, conducts LD awareness month activities, and distributes millions of brochures annually. The LDF's website ( averages 270,000 hits a month and contains color pictures, information, state resources and international links to additional information.

For information on tick-borne disorders or LDF activities contact the LDF via e-mail:, call its 24-hour hotline at 800-886-LYME, or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Lyme Disease Foundation, One Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103.

Lyme Disease & Other Tick-borne Disorders Lyme disease (LD) is a multisystem infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) bacterium, named after its discoverer and LDF Founding Board Member Willy Burgdorfer, PhD, MD (hon). Left undiagnosed, LD can disseminate through the body and cause a wide range of manifestations, including neurologic, cardiac, musculoskeletal, and ophthalmologic problems. Patients may experience symptoms ranging from joint pain, headache, and exhaustion to facial paralysis and severe memory loss. Antibody tests for LD, which have significant limitations, only measure the immune system's response to the bacterium and cannot prove the presence or absence of infection. There is no definitive treatment protocol for any phase of the disease. Over 150,000 LD cases have met the CDC's narrow reporting criteria since 1980, though one actuarial study indicates that the actual number is closer to 2 million, costing society over 1 billion dollars per year.

Other tick-borne disorders include babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME), relapsing fever, tularemia, tick paralysis, Colorado tick fever, and the recently-discovered human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE), a severe, debilitating disease. Currently, ticks are under investigation as possible vectors of the West Nile-like virus.

Please Include in the Story:

FOR FREE TICK-BORNE DISORDER INFORMATION -Visit the LDF web site: - Call the LDF 24-hr Hotline: 800-886-Lyme
-Mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Lyme Disease Foundation, 1 Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103 Hint:: the more postage and the larger the envelope - the more information included in the mailing!

Lyme Disease Foundation
One Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103
860-525-2000 fax: 860-525-Tick
24-hr Hotline: 800-886-Lyme web:

Tom Forschner,
Executive Director
Lyme Disease Foundation


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