In January of 2021, my older brother woke up one morning feeling very disorientated, and it seemed he couldn’t even support the weight of his own head. I assumed he had overdone New Year’s Eve, and was maybe struggling with a hangover to match such an occasion. He probably thought so too. But after a few more days had passed, his condition deteriorated. He had to sit down and place himself on each step in order to go up and down the stairs, he had to hold on to walls as he stumbled around the house, and when he finally sat down, he could no longer sit upright, but rather had to support his own head using his arms or any furniture nearby. He’d been excited, preparing to set off for university, his student life and all it entailed ahead of him. Suddenly everything was on hold.
After months of searching for an explanation for his anomalous condition, he was diagnosed with late Lyme disease, following the advice of a Scottish GP and family friend. His condition had become late neurological Lyme disease, which would take him nearly a year and a half to recover from.
In order to raise awareness for Lyme disease, I decided that for my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), I would host a charity football match at my school, and invite everyone from year 11 to 13 to play, and the rest to watch. With the help of my friends and family, we collectively raised £1,600 to support the work of the Lyme Resource Centre and left a mark of Lyme awareness on my school that will hopefully continue now that I have finished.
This further carried into my Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold award, which saw the addition of a tick removal kit to the essential kit list. We were further advised by our instructors that at the end of each day of walking, to do a tick check amongst ourselves as a team.
With the awareness raised, my group were particularly cautious when walking through tall grass, and constantly checked our legs as we trekked through the large bogs of Dartmoor. Witnessing my brother's struggles has taught me that it only takes one tick bite to do irreparable damage.
LRC is extremely grateful to Nicholas Auld for his initiative in organising a charity school football match, resulting in a very generous donation of £1600 to support the ongoing work of the LRC.
Alongside the fundraising, his initiative has also ensured that his school is now “Lyme Aware’ and continuing to raise awareness of ticks and Lyme disease amongst its pupils.