Global Lyme Alliance to Form 17-Member Young Leaders Council

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Council member Toni Blanchard, a Greenwich resident, who will be running the NYC Marathon next month on behalf of Global Lyme Alliance. Contributed photo

Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) is forming a new Young Leaders Council (YLC), a group comprised of next-generation philanthropists eager to raise awareness of Lyme disease and further strengthen Global Lyme Alliance’s research mission.

The Council will provide a platform for young professionals in their 20s and 30s who are dedicated to volunteering their time, talents and energy to raise awareness of Lyme disease among high school and college students as well as millennials.

These emerging leaders, most of whom live in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, will also help to raise critical funds to benefit GLA, the leading private nonprofit dedicated to conquering Lyme disease through innovative research and education programs.

The 17-member Council is made up of those either living with chronic Lyme disease or who have friends and family fighting the illness. Allie Cashel, 25—author of Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial and co-founder of SufferingtheSilence.com, an online community for people with chronic illnesses—is YLC Chair.

Working with GLA Board of Directors member, Ed O’Connell, YLC members intend to hold a variety of fund-raising and visibility-raising projects to support GLA’s mission. For instance, Jesse Ruben, 30, a musician who lives in New York, and fellow Council member Toni Blanchard, a Greenwich resident, will be running the NYC Marathon on November 6 to benefit GLA. They have sent up a donation page on crowdrise.com for anyone who wants to support them.

Ruben says he decided to join YLC and help GLA because it took nine months to be diagnosed with Lyme, two years to get better, and “I don’t want anyone to go through what happened to me.”

“I had a crawling sensation under my skin, I couldn’t breathe [air hunger], suffered from overwhelming fatigue, and I  had brain fog,” he recalled. “I went to 15 doctors and was either told nothing was wrong, or I had depression or an adrenal gland deficiency—and, of course, all my tests came back negative. I was a vegetable until finally I found a treatment that worked for me and I became a human being again.”

“The enthusiasm, creativity and energy of this stellar group will no doubt expand awareness of GLA and its mission to younger members of the community,” said Scott Santarella, GLA’s CEO. “They will play an integral role in broadening our institutional foot print world wide.”

To learn how to get involved, email beth.mctigue@GLA.org or call 203-969-1333.

Global Lyme Alliance is the leading private nonprofit dedicated to conquering Lyme disease through innovative research and education programs. The 501(c)(3) organization is headquartered in Greenwich, CT. For more information, go to GLA.org.


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