Thank you so much to everyone who has made 2022 such a big year for Lyme Disease UK!
An increase in funding meant that we could really take our annual Wake Up To Lyme campaign to the next level! We welcomed aboard a new campaign partner in Botanic Protect, our free awareness talks reached new audiences, and our free online talks with leading Lyme disease practitioners helped patients to find a way forward with their illnesses.
The year ended with the most spectacular autumn for fundraising we’ve ever seen, with a speed shearing event that raised an incredible amount of money, and plans announced for an Atlantic rowing fundraiser. Various companies also announced us as their charity of the year for 2023! Long-standing corporate partnerships like this are a first for us, and we are so grateful to establish this kind of support which will bring mutual benefits to both parties.
Here are some highlights from 2022, and you can find a full list of items in our news section.
- We were thrilled to kick off the year with some free yoga sessions for Lyme disease patients! The aim was to help late-stage Lyme disease patients whose circulation has been compromised. The free sessions were generously donated by yoga teacher, Helen Say, who has had Lyme disease herself and understands the ways it can affect the body. The sessions acted as gentle exercise for patients and they were able to participate from the comfort of their own homes. We received great feedback from patients: those who were bedbound were even able to participate from bed.
- Tick Bite Prevention Week takes place in March every year and with this topic in mind, we announced Botanic Protect as our campaign partner for 2022! Botanic Protect is a tick repellent solution, and throughout 2022 we collaborated in offering awareness talks to organisations. This was a great way of fusing together our expertise to achieve the highest possible impact! Botanic Protect also offered a 10% discount to our supporters to encourage purchase, and 50p from every sale was donated to us. We are so grateful for this generosity!
- We hosted a free online awareness talk for patients with Dr Richard Horowitz where he shared his expert knowledge. The topic for the webinar was: ‘The future of Lyme disease, tick-borne diseases and global health challenges in the 21st century.’ Dr Horowitz is a Lyme disease expert from the US who has treated 13,000 patients, and has published multiple peer-reviewed articles on effective diagnostic and treatment options for Lyme disease. We felt privileged to welcome Dr Horowitz as a guest and received wonderful feedback from patients who felt they learnt a lot.
- Georgia Chisnall ran the Brighton Marathon for us, raising £900! Georgia chose to support us following her mum’s 14 year battle with Lyme disease. Sadly, Lori was waiting on a diagnosis for 7 of these years, which is why our efforts to raise awareness are so important.
- We launched details of how our supporters could take part in our annual Wake Up To Lyme campaign, which runs every May. This is our national flagship awareness campaign, which has steadily been growing year-on-year. Our campaign raises awareness on how to prevent tick bites, how to safely remove ticks, and the importance of early treatment for people who become unwell following a bite. Following the removal of Covid restrictions, this year we were thrilled to reveal that the campaign would run online and offline for the first time in three years!
- Our Wake Up To Lyme campaign officially launched on 1st May and it was our most successful campaign yet. All members of the LDUK team worked tirelessly to bring it to life! It set itself apart from previous years by the immense support we received: from members of the public, pharmacies, politicians, outdoors groups, and members of our Online Community! We achieved countless accolades, but here’s a summary of the most pronounced:
- We dispatched 750 awareness packs to members of the public across the UK.
- We paid to advertise our social media posts, and reached half a million people with them.
- We paid for our awareness animation to be displayed in 700 pharmacies across the UK. Our video was played half a million times, including at London shopping centres with massive footfalls.
- We organised for our posters to be distributed to 3,000 GP surgeries.
- Our awareness ads were displayed 45,000 times on GP websites.
- We built a relationship with Community Pharmacy Scotland who kindly volunteered to share our information with 2,500 pharmacy contacts.
- We emailed 9,000 headteachers, asking for schools to join us in the fight against Lyme. We also shared our resources for schools with them, including lesson plans and a school trips checklist that they can use as part of health and safety.
- We authored articles across multiple medical publications, led awareness talks and made guest appearances on radio.
- MPs and councillors shared our information on their social media channels. Marie McNair MSP took it a step further and raised a parliamentary motion to recognise Lyme Disease Awareness Month and support our campaign.
- We ran our Light Up For Lyme campaign which saw 18 landmarks across the UK light up in green for Lyme disease awareness. Venues that showed support included the Kelpies, Spinnaker Tower and Blackpool Tower.
- Our Press and Community Outreach Manager, Julia Knight, was invited to give a tick awareness talk via Zoom to the 5th Rayleigh Scout Group. The group learnt where ticks live and how tiny they can be, how to protect themselves from a tick bite, how to remove a tick, and what to look out for and do if they are bitten and feel unwell.
- The staff at land and property experts, BTF Partnership, walked 23 miles in support of us, and raised £1,000! They were keen raise funds as one of their staff members had been poorly with Lyme disease, but is thankfully now much better.
- We raised awareness amongst outdoors enthusiasts at the annual Bushcraft Show: an amazing three day event. Our Press and Community Outreach Manager, Julia Knight, gave a presentation about ticks and Lyme disease on the main stage, which was very popular. Many people who had listened to her presentation sought out the LDUK stand to pick up awareness leaflets, as well as other information about repellents and tick tools.
- We hosted a free online talk from Dr Monica Embers who provided late-stage Lyme disease patients with some hope by sharing her research. By transmitting Lyme disease to mice and nonhuman primates by tick, and studying the natural course of infection, Dr Embers’ group aims to attain a better understanding of the clinical quandaries of human Lyme disease, including effective diagnosis and treatment.
- Lyme Disease UK’s very own, Morven-May MacCallum, raised a huge amount of awareness and funds at two summer outdoor events: the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and the Black Isle Show. Morven-May is a wonderful patient advocate and used this as an opportunity to inform politicians at the event, including Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP and Edward Mountain MSP.
- Our Community Outreach Manager, Julia Knight, was invited by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust to present a Lyme disease awareness talk to staff. This was a good example of our talks being helpful to employees who need to be tick aware for their work. The talk covered what to do if a person gets bitten and the symptoms to look out for after a tick bite that might indicate Lyme disease.
- A team of four represented LDUK at the Great North Run! Karrie, James, Alex and Paul ran 13 miles and raised over £3,000 for us! Raising awareness was important to the team, as Karrie has battled Lyme disease herself and James and Alex both have family members who are Lyme survivors.
- We released a new educational video compiled by Dr Eoin Healy, urging people to be aware of the different tick life stages, and explaining why the smaller and less conspicuous nymph life-stage poses a greater risk to humans than the larger adult female tick. Going forward, this will be a useful educational resource that can be used in a number of different settings. Organisations such as outdoors employers, schools and walking groups can offer this video as part of health and safety.
- The Pendle YFC Speed Shear raised an almighty £10,000, as well as crucial awareness in the young farming community! The speed shear was organised by the Duerden family, as their son Daniel is a young farmer and Lyme disease survivor. There was a record attendance with 400 young farmers taking part and we were thrilled that our leaflets were handed out to all those who attended, and posters displayed at the venue. A truly spectacular opportunity to raise awareness amongst the demographic most at risk of tick bites.
- We announced another epic fundraiser: the Talisker Atlantic Rowing Challenge! A team of four amazing men will be rowing across 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in 2024 to raise awareness of Lyme disease and raise funds for us! The challenge is a deeply personal one for the team, as John’s daughter, Yasmin, has chronic stage Lyme disease. We will be sharing training updates over the course of the next two years, and really excited to find out what’s in store!
- We continued to be inundated with requests for our free awareness talks. This month we had the opportunity to educate the bushcraft instructors at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, as well as the South Yorkshire Community Woodlands group, and the Forest School Association.
- Lyme disease patient, Sophie Dahlmann, raised £550 by completing a 10k run: an incredible achievement following her own battle with Lyme disease and a really special day, with her family cheering her on from the sidelines.
- Committed to transparency, we launched a new video explaining how donations help us and how our money is spent. Our supporters learnt that we do not receive any funding from the government, and donations go towards supporting late-stage Lyme disease patients in our Online Community Group, funding our annual awareness campaign, developing important resources for patients and clinicians, and attending medical conferences and events.
- We launched a Christmas e-card design competition, and received entries from many of our patient community members. Five wonderful winners were selected and the cards will raise awareness and funds.
- Alex Hamlin, brother of Lyme disease patient, Vicky, continued his incredible fundraising efforts by running the Chicago Marathon with his fiancé and even asking for donations to LDUK from guests on their wedding day. Such altruism from Alex and his now wife, Claire!
- Overseas marathons continued as Kieron James ran the New York Marathon in support of LDUK and his wife and daughters who have battled Lyme disease. Kieron raised almost £2,500: an outstanding sum of money!
- We announced that the CMS Group had chosen LDUK as their charity of the year for 2023 and 2024! The CMS Group is an award-winning organisation of Architects based in Wiltshire, and this means that all of their fundraising efforts will be focused on LDUK over the course of two years. The decision to support us came about following a meeting set up by John Watling who is a member of Team SeaSoar (the incredible team of men rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in 2024 to raise funds for us). Chair of LDUK, Natasha Metcalf, was invited to present to the CMS team, alongside John who spoke about his daughter, Yasmin’s, battle against Lyme disease. The CMS Group came away from the meeting saying that they could see how close the cause was to John’s heart, and that Natasha’s knowledge and passion for raising awareness of Lyme disease was clear.