FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary with a Convergence of Scientists, Clinicians, Patients, and Celebrity Talent
BAL honors the 2023 Younger Family Emerging Leader Award Winner, announces iHeartRadio partnership and acknowledges the perseverance of patients with persistent Lyme disease
PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., June 13, 2023—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, celebrated its 10th anniversary in May at LymeAid ®, its preeminent annual fundraising event, and announced Andriy Batchinsky, MD, as the winner of a $150,000 Younger Family Emerging Leader Award. A supportive audience of scientists, clinicians, patients, and philanthropists celebrated progress and commitment to ongoing research into tick-borne diseases, and iHeartRadio announced a partnership in honor of beloved DJ and radio host Jeffrey Vandergrift (“JV”), who passed away with Lyme disease earlier this year. LymeAid raised $683,000 of which 100 percent goes directly to fund scientific research, education, and prevention programs for Lyme disease, a potentially disabling infection that impacts an estimated half a million Americans each year.
Emmy-award winning comedian Dana Carvey, Master of Ceremonies for the event, was joined by The Bacon Brothers and local San Francisco band Pop Rocks, who were the musical guests for this evening of laughter, dining, and dancing to support cutting-edge discoveries and scientific breakthroughs. The fund-a-need for this event was Lyme Disease Biobank, a Bay Area Lyme Foundation program initiated in 2014 to collect and distribute blood, urine, and tissue samples for investigators working on developing diagnostics and treatment for tick-borne diseases.
“This is an amazing time for infectious disease research, offering great hope for patients. While we have made strides, our work is not done. We need to figure out the underlying cause of persistent Lyme disease and find a solution,” said keynote speaker Bill Robinson, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University, who shared ongoing research exploring ways to weaponize antibodies against persistent Lyme disease.
Meghan Bradshaw, who has had multiple joint replacement surgeries due to Lyme disease, and Ann Fowler, who lost her husband, Tyson, to Lyme disease a few days prior to New Year’s Eve this past year, shared their harrowing experiences. Each received standing ovations for their passionate speeches and for their generosity in donating biosamples to the Lyme Disease Biobank, as Meghan has donated joints removed during surgery and Ann donated her husband’s body post-mortem to enable scientific research projects aimed at advancing novel diagnostics and treatments.
Alex Savidge of KTVU joined the event to honor the memory of former news anchor Leslie Griffith, who died of complications of Lyme. Radio personality Selena of WILD 94.9, an iHeartRadio station, helped attendees honor the memory of her colleague JV, who also died from complications of Lyme disease. In remembrance of JV, iHeartRadio and Bay Area Lyme Foundation announced a partnership to raise awareness for Lyme disease, including on-air and social media education campaigns and fund-raising activities to support research. The Mair Family of Saratoga, CA, were present in honor of wife and daughter Meredith Mair who lost her life to Lyme disease, and Mark Mayfield of Kentucky flew out in honor of his wife Terry who passed away from Lyme disease a few months ago.
During the event, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation honored Andriy Batchinsky, MD, founding director of the Autonomous Reanimation and Evacuation (AREVA) Research Program and Innovation Institute of The Geneva Foundation, as the recipient of the 2023 Younger Family Emerging Leader Award (ELA), which includes a $150,000 grant. Dr. Batchinsky is developing disruptively innovative forms of extracorporeal and intracorporeal interventions aimed at timely and complete blood purification and anti-infective treatments. His research exemplifies the Emerging Leader Award’s goal of catalyzing future innovative research into tick-borne disease diagnosis and treatment.
“It was truly inspiring to be surrounded by the energy of the attendees and share the research progress
made possible by past and present grants to luminary scientists and clinicians over our last 10 years,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, who together with her husband Nick opened their residence for this impactful event. “We’ve made valuable progress toward our mission to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, but the emotion from the patients who spoke this evening underscored how much work is left to do.” The entire event of 350 attendees was held outdoors.
Several other scientists and physicians attended the event including Bay Area Lyme Foundation Scientific Advisory Board members Charles Chiu, MD, PhD of UCSF, Monica Embers, PhD of Tulane University, Christine Green, MD, and Sunjya K. Schweig, MD. Previous ELA grant award winners Brandon Jutras, PhD, Virginia Tech, Nichole Pedowitz, PhD, Stanford University and Peter Gwynne, PhD, Tufts University also attended.
Bernadette Clavier, Bonnie Crater, Linda Giampa, Carolyn Margiotti, Kathleen O’Rourke, Kirsten Stein, Susan Strehlow, and Laure Woods were the hosts of LymeAid 2023.
Platinum event sponsor was Whittier Trust; Gold event sponsors were Wild 94.9, IGeneX Inc., Infectolab, Sapient Bio, Portola Valley and Alpine Railroad, Erin Mac Jewelry, Serimmune, Kephera Diagnostics, Tepozán Tequila; Silver event sponsors included Natrapel, Wyld Renaissance, Thor Audio Solutions, Verizon, Old World Spirits, and the Stanford Park Hotel.
About Lyme disease
The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the US, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets, and can be potentially passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and inaccurate diagnostic tests. There are almost 500,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2018 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, up to two million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.
About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM FUND covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.
# # #