Tick-Borne Disease Alliance Hosts Annual Benefit and Honors Those Affected by Tick-Borne Diseases

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Grammy Award Winner Roberta Flack performed, Actress Candice Accola of “The Vampire Diaries” served as MC, Ben Stiller joined to launch nationwide “Bite Back for a Cure” awareness campaign

In short, the medical community is failing us.

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness, supporting initiatives and promoting advocacy to find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, held its 2013 Annual Benefit on Thursday, May 2nd in New York City. During the event, TBDA honored key supporters and patients who have emerged as leaders in the fight against tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. Actress Candice Accola, star of the hit TV show “The Vampire Diaries,” served as master of ceremonies, and Grammy award winner Roberta Flack performed.

During the evening, Courage Awards were presented to two women who have demonstrated inspiring perseverance in their personal battles with tick-borne diseases: Meghan Harrison, a former model and varsity swimmer who created the Lyme Lite Fashion Show to support awareness, and Lori Brownell, a 17-year-old from Upstate New York who shares her ongoing struggle with Lyme through a series of YouTube videos. Norma Russo accepted the Humanitarian Award for her pivotal role in advancing awareness about the impact of tick-borne diseases around the world, in particular Latin America, among sufferers and the medical community.

“Those honored at the 2013 TBDA Annual Benefit have suffered greatly because of tick-borne diseases. All have stories to tell about the devastating impact tick-borne diseases have had on their lives and the lives of their families, but they also tell a bigger story,” said David Roth, TBDA Co-Chair and Managing Director at the Blackstone Real Estate Group. “They tell a story of a medical community that is utterly unprepared to deal with the challenges tick-borne diseases can create. A system that lacks both reliable diagnostics and therapeutics that work for those whom the typically prescribed course of antibiotics fails. In short, the medical community is failing us. In response, the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance has dedicated itself to advancing research to eliminate the silent health epidemic posed by tick-borne diseases, and we will not rest until we achieve our goal of eradicating these terrible diseases.”

“TBDA is more than just a fundraising organization, although that is an important part of what we do,” said Staci Grodin, TBDA President. “We call ourselves an alliance because we are consolidating strength and building an informed community of supporters – essential components in the fight to end Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.”

Ben Stiller, who will soon star in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, participated in the annual benefit and shared that he was diagnosed with Lyme disease a few years ago. In a previously recorded PSA, Stiller encouraged people to protect themselves from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases any time they spend time outdoors.

During the event, TBDA also announced Bite Back for a Cure, an ongoing national awareness and advocacy campaign that will launch this summer. John Donnally, a 24-year-old Lyme sufferer and cyclist, will kick off the campaign with a series of rides throughout the Northeast to meet others affected by tick-borne diseases and galvanize grassroots support for TBDA’s mission to fund research and educate the public about the national health crisis posed by tick-borne diseases.

In addition to John’s bike rides, which will eventually take him across the country, Bite Back for a Cure will also include TBDA walks, partnerships with retailers, and initiatives to build advocacy on a local level. The entire campaign will be well documented on TBDA’s social media channels and promoted in the media. Starting this summer, visit tbdalliance.org to follow John Donnelly’s moving journey.

To learn more about the threat of tick-borne diseases and what you can do to help build awareness about the health crisis posed by Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, visit tbdalliance.org.

About the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA)

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance is dedicated to raising awareness, supporting initiatives and promoting advocacy to find a cure for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. As part of its efforts, TBDA is embarking on a quest to develop a reliable diagnostic tool as a first step toward eradicating the diseases. Working with others in the tick-borne disease community nationwide, TBDA seeks to raise public awareness through education and create a unified voice for advocacy regarding the current epidemic in order to make a real difference. More information about TBDA, Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and prevention and protection can be found at http://www.tbdalliance.org.

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