Let’s take a look back at our greatest achievements from Lyme Disease Awareness Month 2023. Can we have a drum roll please … ?
Lyme disease awareness in the media
Our campaign press release was picked up by over 35 UK newspapers! A new record for our charity!
We were delighted to be invited to write special features for a number of publications including the Royal Forestry Society magazine, Pharmacy In Focus magazine, the Lakeland Walker magazine, and the Professional Mountaineer magazine.
Sharing our patient stories is one of the most powerful ways we can raise awareness of Lyme disease. Thank you so much to every patient and their loved ones who have taken the brave step of sharing their stories with the media. You can find some of the items that were featured below:
The Mirror: ‘Woman left with slurred speech and forced to quit job after being bitten by tick’ – Featuring Lyme disease patient, Christine Sinclair.
Glasgow Times: ‘Clydebank mum waited 30 years for Lyme disease diagnosis’– Featuring Lyme disease patient, Pauline Bowie.
BBC News: ‘The lives ruined from the bite of a tick’ – Featuring Lyme disease patients, Vicky Hamlin and Yasmin Watling.
Herts Live: ‘Abbots Langley man left bedridden for over a year due to unnoticed tick bites’ – Featuring Lyme disease patient, Roland Maxted.
BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester: ‘Help me get to Germany to beat Lyme disease’ – Featuring Lyme disease patient, Tracy Winchester.
The Searcher: ‘Lyme Disease Beware’ – Featuring Lyme disease patient, Laura Harris.
Somerset Live: ‘Mum left with horrific disease after tick bite on family picnic’ – Featuring Lyme disease patient, Olivera Marshall.
Wear Lime For Lyme Day
We were particularly impressed to see offices taking part in Wear Lime For Lyme Day for the first time, including our corporate fundraising partner for 2023 and 2024, The CMS Group.
Congratulations to Monika Kaczmarek who won first prize for her incredible picture of Billy in our pet photography competition. Thank you so much to everyone else who took part including those who bought our doggy bandanas.
We’ve been grateful to see a record number of people getting involved in fundraising activities during Lyme Disease Awareness Month! Jim and Doris set off on their 5,000 mile bike ride from France to Romania, Team SeaSoar were greeted by LDUK’s Chair, Natasha Metcalf, during one of their training sessions for their Atlantic Row, and Luke Roberts organised a skydive in support of his loved one, Emily Pell who’s battling Lyme.
More fundraising! Kyle Garland raised over £300 for LDUK in support of his wife, Jess, another Lyme warrior, Kerry Newton-Marsh raised £150 with her local disco exercise group, and Laura Harris raised £250 with her local metal detecting group. Thank you so much to all.
The Bushcraft Show
A huge thank you to the Bushcraft Show team for inviting us back every year and for giving us the opening slot on the main stage! Our Press & Community Outreach Manager, Julia Knight, travelled to Leicestershire for the annual event! Special thanks to Julia’s husband, John for all the heavy lifting and driving that events like these involve, and to Julia for continuing to spread her knowledge far and wide with her amazing talks. A big thank you to Julie-Ann, patient volunteer who supported Julia at the LDUK stand.
Julia, Julie-Ann and John had a cracking few days informing members of the public about how to prevent tick bites and what you should do if you’re bitten, and loved seeing so many members of the public enjoying the LDUK selfie frame!
The Lincolnshire Show
We are delighted to be raising awareness amongst 60,000 people at the Lincolnshire Show next month from 21-22 June! People who work outdoors in rural settings are most likely to be bitten by a tick and one of our top priorities is therefore to raise awareness amongst the agricultural community.
We were delighted to revisit and relaunch our Wake Up To Lyme campaign video from 2018, which has received an incredible 50,000 views on social media! Thank you so much to all of the patients who featured in the video and everyone who gave it a like and share this year!
Were you one of the 250 people that ordered one of our awareness packs? If so, thank you for ordering! We’re so grateful for your support. Our awareness packs contained 20 leaflets, 20 tick cards, and 5 posters. So by our calculations, that’s 5,000 leaflets, 5,000 tick cards and 1,250 posters that have gone to good homes!
We also welcomed orders from organisations for larger quantities of materials, sending out an extra 3,000 leaflets and 3,000 tick cards.
Pharmacies, GP surgeries and health professionals
We were delighted to display our awareness animation on 650 pharmacy screens across the UK for the second year running. Thanks to your incredible donations, we were also able to pay to display our awareness posters in 3,000 GP surgeries across the UK. So next time you’re in a waiting room, do keep an eye out!
Generating awareness amongst healthcare professionals is of the utmost importance to ensure that Lyme disease is diagnosed promptly and treated correctly. It’s crucial that all clinicians know the symptoms of Lyme disease to look out for and how to treat the infection as per the NICE Lyme disease guideline.
We were delighted to display the advert below at the Primary Care & Public Health Conference from 17-18 May at the NEC in Birmingham. This is the UK’s leading event for GPs and trainee GPs, physiotherapists, nurses, dietitians, and other clinicians working in primary and community care, with up to 6,000 healthcare professionals in attendance.
Thank you to everyone who sent in photos for #TickWatch this May! We asked you to help raise awareness by sharing your photos of ticks, along with a location of where you spotted them in the UK.
Collecting your photos allowed us to show how ticks can vary in appearance – from as small as a poppy seed, right up to the size of a baked bean after a blood meal – and can be found across every county of the UK.
Light Up For Lyme returned for another year and it’s been amazing to see some of our grandest ever venues lighting up in green to raise awareness of Lyme disease. In total, we had a massive 20 venues lighting up in support of Lyme disease sufferers, which is a charity record! Thank you so much to all of the landmarks and organisers.
We built a new schools campaign page on our website and invited 20,000 school leaders to take part in our awareness campaign via the Association of School and College Leaders newsletter. Schools were invited to take part in our poster design competition for kids, and revel in the free online resources we offer for schools including an outdoor excursion checklist and ideas for lesson plans.
Community Pharmacy Scotland
Thank you so much to Community Pharmacy Scotland for inviting us to feature in this special article, which saw us list our top tips for recognising, diagnosing, and treating Lyme disease.
We were delighted to announce a collaboration with the UCL primary care medical education team, who very kindly included our information in their termly newsletter sent to all GP practices that teach UCL medical students.
Support from politicians
Lyme disease patients urgently need the support of MPs and MSPs; both to promote tick awareness amongst their constituents, and also to bring forward discussion in Parliament around the need for advancements in the study and treatment of Lyme disease. Some key examples of support from politicians this month include:
- Peter Gibson MP brought Lyme disease into debate in the House of Commons for the first time since 2019! Having been contacted by local constituent, Chloe Daly, who suffers from Lyme disease, Peter brought to light that advancements into the study and treatment of Lyme disease are urgently needed. You can watch the full video from the House of Commons here.
- We received vocal support on social media from numerous MPs and MSPs including Michelle Thompson who highlighted the importance of checking yourselves and your pets regularly for ticks, and Marie McNair who gave a visual demonstration of how to remove a tick from a dog and took part in Wear Lime For Lyme Day.
- Several other MPs took part in Wear Lime For Lyme Day by sharing our awareness information on their social media including Joe FitzPatrick, Alexander Burnett, Alexander Stewart MSP, Foysol Choudhury, and Alex Cole-Hamilton! Thank you so much to all for responding to the charity’s call to action!
Collaborating with other UK charities
We’ve been thrilled to build new relationships with fellow charities this year who are keen to support our important message! Key collaborations included a multi-platform campaign with Mountain Rescue England and Wales, and inclusion in the quarterly newsletter sent out by The School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA).
We were also included in the Mountain Bothies Association newsletter, and Trail Running Association newsletter. Many other charities gave us shout-outs on social media, including Ramblers Scotland and Facial Palsy UK. The charities, New Arc Wildlife Rescue Centre, and Surrey Care Trust, also requested our leaflets to hand out to their volunteers and visitors to keep them safe from ticks.
We were also delighted to receive ongoing support from various moorlands groups across the UK, sending out over 600 kids’ activities packs for the Estates That Educate education programme.
A final thanks goes to everyone who has donated over the past year to make our awareness campaign possible, and to every single person who took part! Every cog in the wheel has played a part in helping us to get our message out there, and prevent future cases of Lyme disease.