Week 1

June 21- July 1 2019

 

Hey Everyone! 

 

The Lyme Education Tour 2019 is officially underway! We just finished our first week where we educated almost 700 kids and counselors, through 17 separate sessions at 13 locations.

 

We were in Virginia for most of the week and ended our week in Asheville, North Carolina. It was our first time in most of these locations and we learned so much. 

 

We learned to always triple check the hotel room before we leave (so long Cassidy’s pillow!). Also, the south, shockingly, has a ton of options for those who are gluten free and we want to bring it home with us (looking at you Iron Paffles and Juicekeys!). 

 

However, the most important thing we learned was that this education is so needed. Everywhere we went kids were telling us they had found ticks on them or their family members, yet had no idea about Lyme or other tick-borne diseases, or how to protect themselves. 

 

Here are these kids who play outdoors all day (especially at camp), in pretty tick infested areas, that know absolutely nothing about the dangers lurking around them. 

 

At times I just wanted to cry thinking about how many people still don’t know about all Lyme can do and how many more people could get sick out of lack of education. Luckily, we have this program and we will keep going until children all over the country (and eventually world) are aware and protected from the horrors of Lyme disease. 


 

Our 2019 tour is just beginning, so come back to see what we are getting in to next! 

 

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Week 2

July 7- July 12 2019

 

 

 

Well week 2 came and went in a blur. We traveled through 8 states, in 5 days and drove 2,694 miles (shoutout to the Prius for being awesome!)

 

We started our week in Greene County, PA, then made our way to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and then back to PA for sessions.

 

We learned this past week where Eastern Standard Time ends and Central Standard Time begins (talk about a trip!). Luckily we met up with our amazing friends at Hello Gorgeous and threw some ideas around for next year's tour.  We also got to see the natural beauties of Lake Michigan and there is nothing quite like it. We also found out what it's like to almost be flooded off the road in PA (see below!). 

 

Unfortunately, we got to see the lack of Lyme and tick awareness in these endemic areas. On average, less than 25% of the children we are teaching—and even the counselors— have heard anything about ticks and/or Lyme disease before we got there. This is exceptionally terrifying considering that most of these states are in the top 14 for reported cases of Lyme in the country. In fact, Berrien County, Michigan has the highest incidence case in the entire state. The children knew little-to-nothing about how to protect themselves from contracting Lyme disease. 

 

Education and prevention is key to stopping this epidemic. Lyme Education needs to be in every school/camp across the country because guess what, Lyme disease is spread across the country (and even the world). 

 

Our fight to save others lives from being turned upside down by Lyme disease continues on as we head to tackle the New England area in week 3. 

 

Make sure to follow along and donate if you can! 

 

We’ll be back next week after we’ve saved more lives, one lesson at a time. 

 

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Follow along on our social media here: 

Instagram: @lymeeducationtour

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Week 3 

7/15-7/20

 

Well week 3 has come and gone in a whirlwind! Week 3 took us to the most beautiful places in New England. 

 

We started in Stowe, VT and we will never be the same! We stayed at the adorable Butler House in the heart of town and never wanted to leave (seriously Cassidy wants to move in!). We arrived with enough time to take a stroll on the path through town and it was the perfect way to kick off our amazing week. 

 

Next we ended up in Littleton, NH. We love our little Littleton! We were lucky enough to stop in Littleton in 2018 so it was so great being able to go back. In fact, in Littleton we found that 75% of the campers checked for ticks daily now—which was not the case before we came to speak to them last year. It was so great seeing how these kids are learning. 

 

On our way to Charlestown, RI we learned a very important lesson—always check your location when you order Panera through the app or you could end up lost in a casino looking for your dinner (cough cough Cassidy cough cough). We also discovered the beauty of Rhode Island sunsets (check out the picture of Nancy below!) 

 

Our time in Rhode Island was so great because we got to see our friend (and fellow lyme warrior) Kerry! We also got to teach over 100 new campers and counselors! They were so engaged and asked such great questions we were almost taken aback. They also asked us to come back next year already! 

 

Week 3 brought us so much joy, and a sense of peace we needed after a few crazy weeks on the road. It also gave us the validation that this tour is truly saving lives one lesson a time and we are ready for so much more! 

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Week 4 

July 23- July 27

 

This week was pretty calm compared to our previous weeks, which was much needed. This week we were in Fredericksburg, VA, Front Royal, VA and Washington County, MD. 

 

Lucky for us all these locations were close enough to Cassidy’s home so we could stay there. We love traveling, but there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed and having a home cooked meal—thanks Vinny! 

 

Nancy got to see DJ Cassidy in action at one of her Music Bingo gigs and got to try the famoous Damascus Jimmie Cone. We also were able to get a lot of work done to start preparing for next year’s tour! We also were featured on the local news in Hagerstown, MD (check out our News section to see!). 

 

The kid’s we saw this week were so amazing. They were so well behaved, eager to learn and asked such great questions. Unfortunately, most of the questions stemmed from them all having been in contact with ticks at some point in their life already—we actually had one kid who was in the middle of Lyme treatment. 

 

Towards the end of the week, Cassidy was joined by one of our friends from Sawyers products, Kelsey and boy did she have a surprise for the kids. The morning before she came to help, Kelsey found a tick on her dog. So she followed the proper procedure (see our Tick Tips to learn more) and kept her tick in a baggie, which we were then able to show the children. These kiddos got to see a real live tick. 

 

They were hooked and all said they are going to be using their tick repellent from now on! 

 

Onto the next week!

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Follow along on our social media here: 

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Week 5

July 29- August 2

 

Cassidy was on family vacation this week, so Nancy was joined by our friends, and LEAF Leaders, Christina and Adrian. Christina and Adrian brought their own expertise on the road. Christina shared her knowledge of tick testing and the “tag it and bag it” method for labeling the bagged tick and labeling the bag for identification of the person and location where the tick was found. Adrian shared her knowledge of the life cycle of a tick. 

 

These ladies had a jammed packed week with 9 sessions spread out in eastern Pennsylvania and the eastern shore of Maryland. 

 

We are so thankful for Christina and Adrian’s help this past week—we could not have done it without them!

 

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Week 6

August 5- August 9 

Here we go again! This week consisted of 4 out of our last 5 sessions so it was a bit bittersweet—we had our last big car jam session, Hallmark movie and House Hunter viewing and the joys of watching Cassidy attempt to exercise in a hotel room. 

 

Cassidy started off the week close to home in Howard and Washington counties in MD. Then, she headed north to her family's house in New Jersey where Nancy met up with her and the gang was together again—we are so grateful to our family and friends for their hospitality on our journey!

 

Then, we headed to Long Island, NY where our friends Matt and Rich, from Tick Boot Camp, set up these few days for us and we cannot thank them enough! 

 

 When we arrived, we were taken aback by the support we received. Councilwoman Bonner gave each of us proclamations naming it Dr. Nancy Fox and Cassidy Colbert day! We then got to educate children at a local camp, but also other community members at a community event at the local beach. 

 

NY state had the highest reported cases of Lyme disease last year, and Long Island has the highest cases of Babesia in the whole state. In fact, the concierge at our hotel read our shirts and immediately started thanking us for what we are doing and said, “please help us. We need it.” 

 

So we already scheduled the tour to come back and spend a week on the island next summer in order to help educate and protect more lives in this endemic area. 

 

Next week we have our final stop of 2019 so keep an eye out for our recap blog! 

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Follow along on our social media here: 

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2019 Tour Recap

June 21 – August 15

Well, we did it. 7 weeks, 16 states, 50 sessions, about 11,000 miles and almost 4,000 kids. We had the most amazing time educating these youngsters (and camp counselors) on all that ticks can do, and how to prevent it.

We learned a lot on our way too. We learned to quadruple check the hotel room before leaving. We learned to check what time-zone our locations are in (looking at you week 2).  We discovered the LEAF hotel ranking system:

1.       We must have room for us to get our exercise on

2.       We must be able to get to our Hallmark shows

3.       And finally, the towels must meet Nancy’s level of softness

 

In all seriousness, we learned so much from this tour. At every stop we made, at least one person knew someone with Lyme disease. We learned that even in the top 14 states for reported Lyme disease cases, these children, and adults, still knew near to nothing about how to protect themselves, or their loved ones. That’s another thing we discovered this tour, the counselors at every camp were just as engaged as the children. They were learning too. In fact, on multiple occasions the counselors made comments about how they hadn’t known this information before—one even said he had been a boy scout his whole life and learned new information through our presentation.

 

One of the scariest things we discovered was that in our New England stops, 95% of the children had had a tick on them at some point in their life. 95%. Until we came, these kids did not know the true dangers tick pose, how to properly remove a tick, and most importantly, what to do with the tick after removal (hint: do not burn it! Send it for testing).

 

One of the most moving parts of our tour was when we were in Littleton, NH. We had stopped there last year, and when we asked the kids last year how many perform daily tick checks, about 30% said they did. This year, 75% said they did daily tick checks. It showed us that this program is working. These kids are retaining the information, and in turn, lives are being saved.

 

When people found out how much we were doing this summer, they asked us why we do this, and the answer is quite simple. Education is our best defense against the demons that are Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. There is no cure at this time, so the only way to stop others from losing parts of their lives like we did is prevention. If we sit back and do nothing, others will get sick, and the cost of that could be astronomical.

As we were touring, we kept seeing articles of people getting tick bites and getting extremely sick, and even dying. This is what we want to prevent.

 

Prevention and awareness are key to ending this epidemic. The summer tour may be over, but our work is not. Make sure you keep checking in with us to see what we are planning next. And if you want to get the LEAF program to your town, email us at drfox@theleafprogram.org.

 

We want to thank all of our sponsors, and all of you, for all the support thus far!

 

The LEAF Program is just getting started, and we can’t wait to see what year 3 will bring!

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Follow along on our social media here: 

Instagram: @lymeeducationtour

Facebook: The Lyme Education Tour

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© 2019 by Dr.Nancy Fox.