We hope that this finds you and your family safe and well.
We know you will have received lots of communications and information from all sorts of organisations over the past couple of weeks, so we won’t take up too much of your time.
We simply wanted to share some information on Lyme disease and the coronavirus which you may find useful, to let you know how we are continuing to support patients and organisations across the UK throughout the pandemic, and to ask how we may be able to help you at this time.
We’re staying in service
Many businesses and charities are having to temporarily close their doors and furlough staff in order to survive, but with the support of our founder and sponsor, John Caudwell, our charity will remain open.
We feel that staying open at this time is important, especially when people are taking advantage of the government allowance on outdoor exercise and many are unaware of the risk of tick bites, especially in more rural, unpopulated areas that they may be heading to.
We’ll continue to raise awareness online and through our social media channels, and we still plan to take part in Lyme Awareness Month in May.
Our patient information and advice helpdesk remains open and continues to receive queries.
We’re also adapting our service and aiming to support other charities by offering our free Lyme awareness talks as online webinars. We are delivering these to some of the outdoor-based organisations whose staff are now having to work from home, are or being furloughed.
The photo on the right is Fundraising & Communications Manager, Rosie Milsom, in the midst of recording an online talk the Woodland Trust earlier this week.
She will also be delivering live and pre-recorded talks to the Wildlife Trust over the coming weeks.
If you know of an organisation or community group who might be struggling to fill activities for their staff, members or volunteers and would benefit from a talk, let them know that we can help. They can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to our LifeLyme members, whose monthly donations to our research fund are invaluable to us now, in this uncertain time for charitable fundraising.
Coronavirus and Lyme disease – are patients more at risk?
We know that there is some confusion on whether or not Lyme disease patients are more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus, and therefore classed as “at risk” on medical grounds.
The UK government has released a list of those classed as extremely vulnerable due to medical conditions, and Lyme disease itself does not seem to be stated within the list. However, we simply do not know at this stage whether patients will be at increased risk of the virus, and we think it would be sensible for all to be particularly stringent with the hygiene and stay at home measures that are recommended.
ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases) has launched “One Health Lyme”, a platform that will give Lyme healthcare providers a unique opportunity to track and communicate the impact of COVID-19 on Lyme disease patients.
Similar to initiatives operated by speciality societies that treat autoimmune diseases, this project will collect data from physicians about patient experiences and treatments.
How can we help you?
What do you want to see from us at this time?
How best can we help or support patients?
Do you have any ideas on spreading awareness of Lyme disease over the coming months?
We want to hear from you. Even if you would just like someone to share your story with and you are feeling isolated at this time, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com.
For those who are struggling to cope with anxiety around the current pandemic, you can find some useful resources from Mental Health Foundation here.
How you can help us
We are lucky to have support from our founder and sponsor which allows us to stay open and continue providing support for patients and the public, but a large amount of our fundraised income for research is generated from community events and sponsorship.
With so many sporting challenges and events cancelled in the next few months, we like many other charities, will suffer a loss of funds that we might otherwise have relied on.
We know that this is a tough time for people right across the UK, and that many are losing their jobs or missing out on pay.
However, if you feel you are in a fortunate enough position financially and would like to support our Lyme disease research fund, please consider making a donation, becoming a LifeLyme member, or raising money for free through your online shopping with easyfundraising.co.uk or Amazon Smile.
Stay safe and well.