What does LDUK mean to me?

As part of LDUK’s birthday celebrations, I wanted to share what the community means to me, and how it’s helped shaped my life.

LDUK means the world to me.

It was a place that called me family before I really understood my health or anything about Lyme disease. There were never any judgements made by my initial ignorance or shyness. I was welcomed with open arms and offered sound advice. For almost a decade I had battled alone with my health and had become very depressed due to isolating myself from friends, family and the world in general. I didn’t know how I could speak out without being called crazy or that anyone would even listen to me, so I chose to hide away.

LDUK changed that, they offered a support hub, a safe place to express thoughts and feelings without judgement. People were able to relate, and I quickly made lots of friends with people who felt like me. It brought me great comfort that I wasn’t battling alone or crazy for that matter! Experiencing the awful, traumatic years I had prior to diagnosis and seeing first hand the effects of this disease on so many, made me so very passionate about raising awareness and supporting people like I felt they were supporting me.

Just realising I wasn’t alone giving me so much confidence and LDUK are responsible for me regaining my strength, voice and most importantly myself.

I focused all my energies on helping others and raising awareness. LDUK has supported me all the way and I am so very thankful to them for this. If ever I am struggling or have a problem they are there to lift me back up again and cheer me on. I honestly couldn’t live without LDUK now. They have given me a focus, a purpose and shown me my own self-worth. The gifts LDUK have given me, even just over the last 18 months are priceless and I can’t express how thankful I am to them.

LDUK is a lifeline for so many – we would be lost without it. People may not always tune in on the daily conversations or posts but just the comfort of knowing that we are there brings comfort.

The work done behind the scenes is extremely admirable. There is so much hard work, endless hours and constant solution-seeking going on. So many of the group don’t realise how much effort is put in behind the scenes and this is something that needs both highlighting and celebrating.

We had the most successful #WakeUpToLyme campaign this year and the way people got involved was just AMAZING. People showed that simply talking to a friend or putting a poster up in their local supermarkets really does helps PROTECT and SAVE lives with very little effort, and the buzz gained from helping is priceless. We’re given a boost mentally and physically which motivates us all to do more!

LDUK work hard to get all their members involved in a number of different projects, trying to inspire everyone, despite their numerous health complications to get involved in some shape or form. There is something for everyone.

I have never been a part of a group, so down to earth, so friendly and yet so professional. We face a lot of problems, but we are each other’s cheerleaders and celebrate our successes together.

Thank you, LDUK! Thank you for being my second family. Thank you to the admin team for becoming my most loyal and amazing friends. Thank you for all the support you have given me, for the massive dose of motivation, and for making me passionate about fighting for the cause. You’ve helped me find myself once more so thank you for inspiring me to fight for my life. I will be forever grateful to you and words can’t express my true thanks.

Sophie Ward.