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The Lyme Disease United Coalition

lyme disease united coalition tracie leslie wermer

Leslie Wermer (deceased) with her sister Tracie Schissel, both women were instrumental in creating lymefighters.org, and founding LDUC.

The Lyme Disease United Coalition is a non-profit, tax exempt, volunteer-run organization founded with the aim of advocating for patients with Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Lyme disease remains their focus but they are also concerned with ensuring excellent quality of care for patients with Babesiosis, Bartonella, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis. The Lyme Disease United Coalition’s President, Judith Weeg, is highly vocal in regards to the need to improve public and physician education on Lyme disease and tick-borne illness. Following her involvement with the Lyme Disease Association of Iowa, Weeg founded the LDUC in 2007, along with fellow Lyme disease sufferers Tracie Schissel and Leslie Wermers (who, sadly, has since died from Lyme disease-associated complications). Judith Weeg is a previous employee of the Centers for Disease Control where she created health programs before moving into a media career.

The LDUC takes the maxim “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And, whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world” to heart and its members are almost all sufferers of Lyme disease or carers for those with a tick-borne infection. Branches of the LDUC exist in Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington and the organization has a number of affiliates such as the Kansas Lyme Fighters, Inc., and the Lyme Disease Association of Iowa.

Judith Weeg and the LDUC

Judith Weeg herself has suffered many years of seriously compromised health connected to Lyme disease following a tick bite. She now relies on a wheelchair and, despite cancer and brain damage she connects to Lyme disease, continues to travel the world to spread awareness of the condition and its devastating effects for many sufferers and their families. Weeg also uses the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) to help with the effort to educate patients and physicians. The LDUC frequently holds talks, lectures, and screenings for members across the US with representatives from ILADS giving their views on current treatment options and Lyme disease guidelines. The Lyme Disease United Coalition also works with State Health Departments to provide literature and displays about Lyme disease at their events. They are entirely reliant on donations and provide phone support for Lyme disease patients along with materials and resources for patients to present to family members, their doctors, and members of the public.

Other activities undertaken by the LDUC include helping to cover costs of medication for those unable to meet such medical fees themselves, and to advocate for patients’ rights and the need for better Lyme disease research. The LDUC publishes a bi-monthly newsletter to educate and inform their members about the latest developments in Lyme disease knowledge and continues to warn that Lyme disease can be spread by the bite from not just ticks but by fleas, biting flies, red ants in the south, and mosquitoes, despite the official line from the CDC and the IDSA being that it is a tick-borne infection only. Just like ILADS the Lyme Disease United Coalition believes that patients deserve better health care and updated guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.