The term Lyme Warrior, much like the term Spoonie, has become a household name given to those of us (by us) who suffer from Lyme disease. We call ourselves warriors because having a chronic illness is a battle. Every day, a battle. A long, drawn out, uphill battle that we spend most of our time on- what feels like -the losing side. Due to the elusive physical evidence of Lyme disease, it has been dubbed an “invisible illness’’. That alone creates such debilitating emotional and societal hurdles in the daily life of those of us who suffer that we often feel unwanted, misunderstood, overwhelmed, ugly. Thus the Lyme Warrior movement was born.
A lovely lady by the name of Lauren Lovejoy founded the Organization-simply, Lyme Warrior-to spread awareness and fight for advocacy on behalf of those who suffer from Lyme disease. At Lyme Warrior, you won’t find any preaching, or panhandling attempts to grab at your money. Instead, what you’ll find is a beautiful community of individuals who volunteer (nobody makes any money from this) to spread awareness, provide informational resources, raise funds for Lyme research and help out those in need of some love, luck and support. The volunteers are all people affected by Lyme in some way, and the products sold in the shop (shirts, leggings, bracelets, car decals, etc.) are all created from ideas within the organization itself. In addition to being an amazing resource for information and support for Lyme warriors and caregivers alike, this organization has also come up with some very cool campaigns to help raise awareness and lend support to those in need.
Kid’s Smile Boxes is one such campaign. Lyme Warrior has teamed up with Smiles for Lyme for this campaign in which the aim is to send boxes of love, support and fun surprises to kids who suffer from Lyme. Another great campaign Lyme Warrior is working on promoting is #lymeuncensored: a movement that shows what Lyme disease really looks like. The great thing about this campaign in particular, is that it gives each individual who suffers from Lyme disease the opportunity to be seen and heard and the chance to openly and proudly declare themselves a Lyme warrior.
The most important campaign Lyme Warrior has at the moment, though, is a beautiful project called Chronic Beauty. This project comes in the form of a calendar: 12 incredibly courageous women, 12 months. Each month will feature one stunning woman and her story.
The really amazing part of this project is that it isn’t just about Lyme disease, it’s about all different types of chronic conditions and how beautiful we still are in the face of all the struggles. The Chronic Beauty campaign reaffirms the idea that it’s okay to admit that life is hard, that our daily battles with illness can skew how we feel about the world and ourselves. Feeling beautiful, or even just special, in the face of such ugly ailments can be incredibly difficult at times, and to acknowledge that is the first step to overcoming the struggle both in our personal lives and in the global and societal sense of breaking down the stigma of chronic illness. The calendars are currently on sale and can be purchased at the shop on the Lyme Warrior website. All of the proceeds of this project will be split up equally and donated to benefit each of the 12 conditions featured in the calendar.
I encourage each of you to check out the Lyme Warrior website. I also encourage you to do whatever you can to help, even if it’s just sending an email to Lauren to say thank you for all of her (and the whole teams) incredibly hard work. They certainly all deserve it. Speaking as someone who does volunteer for this organization when I have the time, it is a revolution waiting to happen- in fact, it already is happening- it just needs more momentum to reach more people to really make the huge impact we are working so hard for.
Lyme Warrior is always looking for new volunteers to help support, spread awareness and work on projects. Keep an eye on the Lyme Warrior site, there are a lot of exciting things to come in the new year. Lyme Warrior can be accesed across all platforms of social media, so don’t be shy! And remember, the lime green ribbon supports Lyme disease- so wear it proudly.