By Allan Benner, The Tribune
Alex Latham was inspired when he learned about the plight of a Welland woman diagnosed with Lyme disease.
He was at work at General Motors when a co-worker told him about the challenges 24-year-old Bylynnda Turvey and her family have faced in trying to raise enough money to send her to Florida for treatment.
Turvey is one of a growing number of Niagara-area residents dealing with the same hardship, unable to get treatment in Canada.
In the days since her story was published, several other people have contacted this newspaper from throughout Niagara and as far as Burlington who have similar tales to share.
“It’s the horror stories coming from it, people having to second-mortgage their homes, trying to get people to help them raise money,” Latham said.
He said too many people with the disease are going misdiagnosed and untreated.
“It’s disgusting,” Latham said.
He said there are many wilderness areas in Niagara and therefore many places where people run the risk of being bitten by ticks carrying the disease.
“It’s going to continue to happen and we need to have something here to protect our children, and our government is just dropping the ball on this,” Latham said.
“It’s immensely troubling,” said Welland MP Malcolm Allen.
“Clearly, there are now a fair number of folks who are afflicted,” he said. “The common theme is you can’t get diagnosed appropriately, and then when you finally get diagnosed, we don’t really have a course of treatment up here. That needs to change.”
Latham has teamed up with some co-workers to draft a petition that asks the federal government to “acknowledge that our citizens have the right to proper medical care in combatting Lyme disease in Canada.”