Round-up of Australia's 2013 WWLAP Involvement, National Campaigns and the States and Territories Involved
Round-Up of Australia's involvement in the Inaugural Worldwide Lyme Protest
By Karen Smith (Australia's International Rep/National Co-ordinator)
The Worldwide Lyme Awareness Protest (WWLAP) began as a Worldwide Grass Roots campaign with many advocates all over the world joining together to bring as much attention to the inadequacies surrounding Lyme diagnosis and treatment as possible. When I registered Australia's interest and signed up as Australia's International Representative in participating in the Worldwide event in November 2012 I honestly had no idea how quickly this event would grow, both nationally and internationally. Almost immediately on starting Australia's WWLAP campaign on Facebook, Janice Foster's comments on the event and my prior knowledge of her keen interest in raising awareness about the lack of acknowledgement of the existence of Lyme in Australia saw me asking her to join me to work together on the National co-ordination of the event. Thankfully she said yes. I say thankfully, as Janice's input and help with regards to numerous aspects of Australia's participation in this worldwide campaign was nothing short of amazing.
As the Worldwide Lyme Protest was a developing event , no-one could have possibly imagined how large it would grow in its inaugural year. Both myself and Janice were grateful then, when we approached the Lyme Disease Association of Australia (LDAA), at the end of February 2013 and they agreed to come on board to sponsor some of the costs (Posters and brochures) incurred by the organisers of the events being held all around Australia.
Thank you to the LDAA for sponsoring the posters and brochures for all the events, and a big thanks also to Jennifer Sherer (Secretary) for organising and sending all of these out to organisers. A special thanks also to Sharon Whiteman (Newly elected as President of LDAA) who spent many a long night filling out liability insurance for the buildings lighting up green as well as helping to organise media for the WWLP week-end. We were very appreciative of all the LDAA input.
The success of Australia's campaign would not have been possible without the numerous Australian Lyme patients and advocates who also embraced this campaign with enthusiasm and organised events around Australia and also helped out in many various ways with this campaign which included:
* Over a dozen events held Australia wide * Landmarks and Buildings (17) around Australia lighting up green for Lyme Awareness * The moving National Patient awareness 'highlights' video which received over 3,000 views, and the pictures submitted for the video, printed and submitted to the Chief Medical Officer of Australia * Emily Madden's song "Right These Wrongs", written for the patient videos (and used in many other countries, as well as sung at numerous events around Australia) receiving recognition from the makers of the Lyme documentary, Under Our Skin *Numerous media articles on Lyme disease
On behalf of Australia's Worldwide Lyme Awareness Protest 2013 team, I extend a huge thank you to all those involved behind the scenes, and to the organisers of the Australian events listed opposite. Their efforts , and personal costs, both in time and money, are greatly appreciated by all. Australia's efforts in the Worldwide campaign were phenomenal and contributed in raising a large amount of awareness about Lyme disease Australia wide. Some of this awareness was evidenced by the large influx of numbers into Australian Lyme patient support groups and patient queries to Lyme Organisations in Australia.
In closing, I would also love to say a huge thank you to all the other countries involved in the Worldwide Lyme Awareness Protest. The number of countries involved with this event meant that there was a great deal of media interest across the world due to sheer size of this campaign. The people I got to "meet" and the passion shown by advocates all around the globe to end the ignorance surrounding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have the strength and determination that I know will go on until the goal is achieved.