Lyme disease debate leaves family without answers

Chiara Davide, 22, has been sick for seven years with no diagnosis. Was a positive Lyme disease test result from the U.S. the answer, or false hope?

By: Staff Reporter, Published on Sat Dec 27 2014

Chiara Davide is sitting in a wheelchair at her family’s home in North York, frozen in place. The 22-year-old’s tiny frame twitches every so often — the only movement she makes — and her rail-thin wrists lead to tense fingers, bunched up tightly against her delicate chest.

Chiara’s mother, Fran, gently lifts her daughter’s arm. She begins stretching out Chiara’s stiff hands while a music therapist strums her guitar by the kitchen table, softly playing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Fran sings, but Chiara stays silent. She hasn’t spoken a word since July 2008. And Fran doesn’t know why.

Over the past seven years, Fran Davide and her husband, Romano Cassuoli, have endured a nightmare, watching their healthy teenage daughter suddenly fall ill with no diagnosis or concrete hope for recovery.

Chiara can no longer walk, speak or feed herself, and not a single Canadian doctor has been able to say why. But a positive test result from a U.S. laboratory in 2009 offered a potential answer: Lyme disease.

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