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Lyme disease debate leaves family without answers

Campers stand at the edge of the water at sunset watching the stars come out, with the CanLyme logo floating in the foreground.

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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