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Bay Area Lyme Foundation Sees Turning Point for Lyme Disease in 2017

Organization Leaders Honored with HHS Appointment, Jane Seymour’s Open Hearts Award, Among Other Pivotal Events

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., December 21, 2017—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced that the organization granted $2 million in 2017 for Lyme research and education, and saw an increase of engagement from scientists, the government and noted celebrities. Studies funded by the foundation and published in 2017 provide significant support to the widely-debated scientific belief that Lyme bacteria persist after standard antibiotic treatment.  The foundation continues to demonstrate success in bringing new scientific talent to the fight against tick-borne diseases.

“We continue to build on the organization’s strong scientific foundation, which is fortified by our highly regarded advisory teams and our support of a growing number of successful researchers.  We are pleased with the attention the federal government is finally giving to Lyme disease,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.  “Because of our track record of identifying, monitoring and enriching valuable Lyme disease research, we attracted the attention of high-profile celebrities Alec Baldwin, Ally Hilfiger and Jane Seymour this year, and appreciate their efforts to raise awareness of Lyme and bolster our mission.”

Expanded Advisory Board
Bay Area Lyme Foundation expanded its Scientific Advisory Board to include:

  • Nathan Nieto, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
  • Steven Phillips, MD, Yale-educated physician treating patients with Lyme disease in private practice in Connecticut
  • Sunjya Schweig, MD, CEO and co-director of the California Center for Functional Medicine in Berkeley, California

Increased Awareness
With the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appointing Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s Wendy Adams, research grant director, to its Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, we are optimistic that this will assist in making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure. The Working Group was established by the 21st Century Cures Act to improve federal coordination of efforts related to tick-borne diseases.

Lia Gaertner, Science Committee member and Advisory Board member at Bay Area Lyme Foundation, was selected as a research advocate for the Tick-Borne Disease Research Program (TBDRP). As part of this Department of Defense sponsored program, she served alongside prominent scientists to help determine how the $5 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2017 would be spent on tick-borne disease research.

In 2017, Alec Baldwin chose LymeAid® as a forum to share his personal experiences with Lyme disease in an effort to raise awareness of the challenges of the disease, and Ally Hilfiger was on hand at the event, offering her equally frustrating first-hand account of the issues of diagnosis and treatment.

Jane Seymour honored Laure Woods, Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s president and founder, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation at her Open Hearts Foundation gala held in Los Angeles, for contributions to tick-borne disease research, and education of at-risk populations. Debbie Gibson, who is a fellow Lyme sufferer, graciously presented the Open Hearts award to Laure during the gala’s recognition ceremony.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Executive Director Linda Giampa, was recognized as a Woman of Influence at the Silicon Valley Business Awards in May, where she was able to bring Lyme disease awareness to an audience of 500+ powerful business executives.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation introduced Patient Talk, a series of three-to-four-minute supportive videos for Lyme disease patients, Lyme caregivers, and medical professionals, developed in collaboration with partner LymeLight Foundation.

$2M in 2017 Grants
Awardees are evaluated on their concepts, methods, resourcefulness and willingness to collaborate with others, in bringing new vision to the field of Lyme disease research.

The Bay Area Lyme Foundation 2017 grant recipients include:

  • John Aucott, MD, Johns Hopkins University
  • James J. Collins, PhD, Wyss Institute, Harvard University and MIT
  • Gordon Research Conference
  • Richard Horowitz, MD, Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center
  • Liz Horn, PhD, MBI, Lyme Disease Biobank
  • Yuko Nakajima, PhD, Brandeis University
  • Nate Nieto, PhD, Northern Arizona University
  • Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • Dan Salkeld, PhD, Colorado State University
  • Sunjya Schweig, MD, California Center for Functional Medicine
  • Andrea Swei, PhD, San Francisco State University
  • Nevena Zubcevik, DO, The Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness
  • Ying Zhang, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

About Lyme disease
One of the most common infectious diseases in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. There are about 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2015 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, as many as one 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 foundation sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US.  A 501c3 non-profit 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 all overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit or call us at 650-530-2439.

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Tara DiMilia
Phone: 908-884-7024

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