The Lyme Disease Association of Australia is a small yet powerful registered charity and Australia’s peak patient body. We are committed to achieving multi-sector recognition and world’s best practise diagnosis and treatment for Australian Lyme and associated disease patients in Australia. The association undertakes activities in six key areas: information, support, advocacy, education, awareness and research.
The aim of the LDAA is to:
- Advocate for individuals and families living with Australian Lyme and associated diseases with governments, doctors and local communities;
- Facilitate world’s best practise patient care and support;
- Represent the perspective, lived experience and interests of the Australian patient community;
- Act as a conduit between international developments, research, treatments and other Lyme communities;
- Fundraise to facilitate improvements for people living with Australian Lyme and associated diseases by supporting the education of doctors and other health professionals;
- Fundraise to support research and innovation in epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of Australian Lyme and associated diseases; and
- Educate the public and medical sector about the risks of Lyme disease and the need for early diagnosis and treatment (early detection makes this an easily treatable disease).
Meet the Board
In late 2017, the LDAA evolved from our original status as a grassroots registered charity to a mature organisation with a framework that reflects our long term vision. Our first Board was established in November 2017; we are proud to introduce you to the members below:
Sharon Whiteman, CEO
Sharon has worked in the field of health and wellness for almost 40 years. She was an Intensive Care Unit nurse for 20 years, and has run a business focussing on nutrition for a further 18 years.
Sharon has been involved with the LDAA since its inception in 2009 and fulfilled the role of president 2013-2017.
She has 25 years experience leading teams of volunteers from all walks of life, who have appreciated her calm manner, commitment to staff development and engaging style. Despite being a recovering patient herself, Sharon has been a tireless campaigner of justice for patients of Lyme disease and Lyme-like illness. She’s an endless source of inspiration for her team.
Marie Huttley-Jackson, President
Marie works in a policy role in government in the area of industry innovation, and recently completed a Masters degree in Marketing.
Driven by generosity and compassion, Marie has been volunteering her skills to small charities for over 20 years. The LDAA welcomes the experience she’s gained through numerous leadership roles, and her insight from working for a large health charity in the areas of media, marketing and engagement.
Marie first joined the LDAA in 2014 as the mother of a child with Lyme-like illness. She credits the LDAA with helping her family through this difficult time, and is looking forward to providing others with that same support. We are pleased to announce that after appropriate treatment, Marie’s daughter is now in remission.
Jennifer Sherer, Vice-President
The LDAA has been fortunate to have had Jennifer fulfiling the role of Vice President since 2013. An engineer who runs her own business, Jennifer is experienced at explaining complex concepts to a varied audience – which is why she does such a great job of leading our social media team!
Jennifer has a long-term interest in medical science and a passion for human rights. She is a recovering patient who gets a lot of satisfaction from empowering fellow patients with knowledge, and watching them regain control over their lives.
Tanya Kerr, Treasurer
Tanya is a degree-qualified accountant with her own business. She has over 15 years experience in commercial, cost and management accounting across a wide variety of industries.
Tanya balances her head for figures with a heart for the community – she has previously served as a volunteer treasurer for
K-9 Search and Rescue, and her children’s public school. Tanya is also a Justice of the Peace, who consistently supports small charities.
Tania is neither a patient nor a carer - she's a concerned member of the general community who contacted us after reading about the dreadful experiences of Australian patients and seeing the massive efforts of our small organisation to raise awareness.
Ann-Maree van Dalen, Secretary
Ann-Maree has worked in education for 27 years, primarily in her favoured area of special education. She has worked internationally as a teacher, teacher-in-charge of a Special Education Developmental Unit and an Assistant Director of an ABC Learning Centre. A dedicated and active member of the community, Ann-Maree is also a kinship carer as part of Foster Care Queensland and has been a secretary and member of her children’s kindergarten committees.
Ann-Maree attributes the diagnosis and successful treatment of her daughter’s Lyme-like illness to the LDAA’s guidance. As a result, she has volunteered with us since 2014.
As a mother and special education teacher, Ann-Maree is committed to communication, organisation and teamwork; exactly what we need in a secretary.
Rebecca Vary, Board Member
Resilient and resourceful, Rebecca established an award-winning business while suffering from chronic, yet undiagnosed Lyme-like illness. She has utilised her networking skills to build strong relationships amongst the isolated Western Australian patient and scientific community.
Rebecca is a long term passionate and determined advocate for patients, who addressed the 2016 Senate committee on Lyme-like illness on behalf of the LDAA.
Rebecca has volunteered for the LDAA since 2013, and we’ve benefited from her consistent and thoughtful contributions. After seeking appropriate treatment in Australia and overseas, she is now in remission.
Catherine Stace, Board Member
Catherine has more than 30 years of experience working in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Her expertise is in developing change strategies and leading business growth across reputation, revenue and relationships.
As a previous CEO of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, Catherine’s vision, strategies and leadership resulted in transformative change. This included a global collaboration to create a personalised medicine platform, being crowned the 2016 Australian Charity of the Year at the Australian Business Awards, and ranking 25th at the Australian Financial Review Innovation Awards.
Catherine stepped down from the Foundation in 2016 due to complications with Lyme-like illness. Perpetually driven, she has since joined the LDAA, and we are grateful to benefit from her extensive insight.
Janice Foster, Board Member
Janice has a professional background in the corporate sector, and a qualification in Community Welfare. An analyst by nature and previous occupation, she has an eye for detail, a structured approach and an interest in breaking down complex issues.
Janice has a long-term passion for helping others, and has volunteered for multiple small charities over the past 20 years. A recovering patient, she was a National Coordinator of the 2013 Worldwide Lyme Awareness project and has contributed to the LDAA since 2014.
Anne Ryan, Board Member
Anne has a background in policy, research and strategy, honed while employed at Canberra Airport.
She also has political experience, having been a Councillor and the Deputy Shire President of Busseltown Council for five years.
Anne developed Lyme-like illness in early 2016. Her tenacious spirit has lead her to retrain for an IT qualification, develop an interest in medical research, and join the LDAA team. We look forward to benefiting from her varied knowledge.