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Growing concern about Pediatric Lyme Disease in WNY

Posted at 1:08 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 18:40:56-04

Thanks to a mild winter season, scientists are predicting this could be one of the worst years for ticks.  That is also raising concerns about tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease.

The disease can be debilitating for children as the symptoms of Lyme Disease can often be confused with other illnesses.  For families dealing with Pediatric Lyme Disease, the expense from uncovered medical costs can run into the thousands of dollars.

That is why the NY Kiwanis Pediatric Lyme Disease Foundation, in conjunction with Kiwanis Niagara Frontier South Division Clubs, is trying to raise awareness of the problem.  The groups are also hoping to raise $10,000, or more, from an upcoming fundraiser to help families with medical costs associated with Pediatric Lyme Disease.

For individuals like 20-year-old Stephanie Szymanski from Marilla, the disease was misdiagnosed when she was a young teenager.  Stephanie now suffers from daily headaches, memory problems, constant muscle and joint pain.  The young woman also needs a wheel chair to get around.

Juliet Szymanski, Stephanie's mother, said her family was spent close to $100,000 on medical bills and was thankful to get $50,000 from the Kiwanis Foundation because they feared they would have to sell their home.

The mother believes there needs to be more emphasis on Pediatric Lyme Disease with better testing and education.

You can hear comments from the Szymanski's and the Kiwanis in the attached video clipS.  They talked with 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly in Holland.

For more information about Pediatric Lyme Disease, Boston Children's Hospital provides the following link:http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/lyme-disease/symptoms-and-causes

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation also provides information:https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/

And there is additional information available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html

Kiwanis have information about Pediatric Lyme Disease at :http://www.kiwanis-ny.org/lyme/

The Kiwanis fundraiser for Pediatric Lyme Disease will take place on June 4th from 11am to 7pm at the Holland Rod & Gun Club.  It is a steak and shoot event with a $50 donation from shooters and $40 donation requested from non-shooters.  The money raised will be used to help local families whose children have Lyme Disease.

Kiwanis - Niagara Frontier South Division Clubs are looking forward to a strong turnout so other families with the disease can be helped.