Bite Back for a Cure, Tick-Borne Disease Alliance's National Campaign to Raise Awareness About Devastating Tick-Borne Diseases, to Stop in Martha's Vineyard, August 18

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Campaign to Raise Awareness and Encourage Local Advocacy Includes Cross-Country Bike Tour and Interactive Digital Components

Bite Back for a Cure, the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance’s (TBDA) national grassroots campaign to build support for the fight against the devastating impact of tick-borne diseases, will make its first stop on a national tour of bike rides and community events in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. on Sunday, August 18. Led by 24-year-old Lyme sufferer and cyclist John Donnally, Bite Back for a Cure will raise awareness and galvanize local support for TBDA’s mission to fund research and educate the public about the silent epidemic of tick-borne diseases.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a five-mile bike ride from the Lyme Center of Martha’s Vineyard to Chilmark Community Church in Chilmark, Mass. At 1 p.m. Katina I. Makris, author of Out of the Woods, will deliver an inspirational speech at Chilmark Community Church, which will be followed by a book signing. That evening, from 6-9 p.m., TBDA will host a fundraiser at Grange Hall, featuring speeches from advocates and authorities on tick-borne diseases. The evening will also include a buffet dinner and dancing. The day will be hosted by Dr. Roni Deluz, founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat, and Dr. Enid Haller, founder of the Lyme Center of Martha's Vineyard.

“TBDA is thrilled to launch Bite Back For A Cure, which will help us build momentum on a national scale and reach local communities throughout the country to fight what has become a truly national health epidemic,” said Staci Grodin, TBDA president.

“We’re honored that TBDA has brought Bite Back for a Cure to Martha’s Vineyard. Tick-borne diseases are increasingly prevalent in this region, and it is vitally important that visitors and residents alike understand the risks posed by these devastating illnesses and the very easy ways we can all protect ourselves,” said Dr. Enid Haller, executive director of the Lyme Center of Martha’s Vineyard and an organizer of Bite Back for a Cure: Martha’s Vineyard.

A former Colgate lacrosse player, Donnally was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2003 and again in 2011. His personal passion is fueled by the fact that others in his family also suffer with Lyme disease. During Bite Back for a Cure: Martha’s Vineyard, Donnally will meet with others affected by tick-borne diseases. These inspirational interviews will be documented on BiteBackForACure.org.

“By 2020, it’s expected that there will be over 600,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year, and one in five of these patients will likely suffer with long-term symptoms – just like me and my family,” said Donnally. “Through my trip across America, I want to raise awareness and build support to defeat these debilitating diseases. Together we will make a difference.”

On Sunday, August 25, Bite Back for a Cure will stop in Southampton, N.Y. In September, Donnally will lead rides in Albany, N.Y., Syracuse, N.Y. and South Wales, Pa.

In addition to the cross-country bike tour, Bike Back for a Cure also includes an interactive online campaign led by Candice Accola, star of the hit television series The Vampire Diaries. Over time, the online campaign will accumulate a national “video quilt” of individual photos and statements from those affected by tick-borne diseases. This “video quilt” will be sent to state and federal legislators, encouraging them to support Lyme-disease legislation. To view Accola’s PSA that she filmed for TBDA earlier this year, click here.

“The online campaign is another crucial element of Bite Back for a Cure, and I encourage everyone in Martha’s Vineyard to bring signs and take photos so we can put an end to this national health crisis,” Donnally explained.

To register for Bite Back for a Cure: Martha’s Vineyard, visit bit.ly/BiteBackMVineyard.

To learn more about Bite Back for a Cure and how you can get involved, visit BiteBackForACure.org.

For more information about about the health crisis posed by Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, visit TBDAlliance.org.

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Media Contacts:
Phil & Company
Brittnie Mabry, brittnie(at)philandcompany(dot)com, 646.490.6446
Morgan Procida, morgan(at)philandcompany(dot)com, 646.490.6446

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