Recently, we announced our new Ambassadors Ryan Stig and Didier Cohen who join Tessa Wallace in trying to raise awareness of Lyme disease, along with the Lyme Disease Association of Australia (LDAA). All three are Lyme sufferers and have had their life ‘interrupted’ in various ways by the illness.
I thought it apt to list other famous people who have also been afflicted with Lyme disease. Why? Because Lyme disease - or whatever name governments want to call it - does not discriminate. It does not care how much money or status you have; Lyme disease can strike anyone - babies, teenagers, Gen Y’s and baby boomers, the elderly, and sometimes whole families.
Many appear to have similar stories of misdiagnoses and woeful treatment by the medical profession. Obviously, prevention is better than the cure. We urge you to be vigilant, and if you are bitten, to seek medical help to alleviate chronic illness.
Here are some people you may not know who have/are suffering from Lyme disease:
Sam Stosur’s Lyme journey started in 2007. Sam, an Australian tennis player has done a number of interviews on her illness.
Like Sam, Jennifer Capriati former world number one tennis player, also contracted Lyme disease. The three-time Grand Slam champion was forced to quit the sport.
Former England rugby player Matt Dawson faced a struggle all too familiar for Lyme disease sufferers. His GP ruled our Lyme after checking on the internet! Misdiagnosed for 13 years. The delay in diagnosis damaged his heart and meant he had to face multiple surgeries.
Gary Player, Golfer, contracted Lyme disease in South Africa in 2000.
It is interesting that the above individuals would have been in peak physical condition, yet Lyme disease still managed to afflict them.
Avril Levigne, a Canadian Singer was finally diagnosed in 2015 and is making a comeback in 2018. Avril maintains, like many sufferers she was bedbound for five months and was told by doctors she was crazy, and the illness did not exist.
Shania Twain, who is touring Australia this year had her vocal cords damaged by the disease and feared she might never be able to sing again. The singer says she saw a tick fall off her during her 2003 tour and became dizzy in the next few days, almost falling off stage while performing.
Yolanda Hadid, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, maintains doctors prolonged her Lyme disease agony because of misdiagnosis. After a six-year battle drove her to consider suicide she found the will to carry on because of her three children who have also battled Lyme.
Ally Hilfiger, daughter of famed fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, has written of her struggle with Lyme in her book, "Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made me Crazy and Almost Killed Me." After a tick bite at age 7, Ally began feeling Lyme disease symptoms but went through years of misdiagnoses until she was finally correctly diagnosed at 19.
Kris Kristofferson, Actor, now 82 began having trouble remembering things. In 2013, the then 77-year old was able to remember his own songs but not much else, and that other areas of his life were being adversely affected by dementia, or so specialists told him. Kristofferson had been taking prescription drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and depression for a number of years but stopped once Lyme was correctly diagnosed.
Former US President, George W Bush, was treated in 2006 for what appears to have been Lyme disease, the White House disclosed in results of an annual physical exam.
Actor Richard Geer, although not broadcasting his illness is said to have had treatment for Lyme. Gere believed he was going to die after suffering from the illness “that landed him flat on his back and in agony.”
Ashley Olson, Actor and twin of Mary-Kate, was diagnosed with Lyme and has been out of the spotlight for the past few years to tend to her health.
Christy Turlington, Model, discovered she had been infected with Lyme disease in 2007. She was able to be diagnosed early and received treatment right away, which helped her successfully rid her body of the disease. Since that time, she has apparently had no further issues and hasn’t publicly mentioned the incident in recent years.
Kirstie Alley, Kelly Osbourne, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Stiller, Christy Brinkley, Daryl Hall, Neneh Cherry have all succumbed to Lyme disease in some form.
We at the LDAA are Lyme sufferers and volunteers, understand your plight, and all have our own individual stories to tell, although we’re certainly not rich and famous! Raising awareness of the illness and of the many who are affected is important and one of our continuing goals. You’re not alone in Lyme world.