15 May 13

LymeAid, for pets & people ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

On Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7pm a different kind of pet benefit event is hitting the roof top of Toyota of Manhattan – LymeAid!  It is not a drink, but the drinks may be green at this pet and human party.  What is this event you ask?  LymeAid is a first of it’s kind dual fundraiser for LymeDisease.org and Stray from the Heart animal rescue and to raise awareness about the awful Lyme Disease that both people and our pets often contract.

While the disease is serious – LymeAide promises to be a fantastic time with music, dancing, pet celebrities (human and the four legged kind!), scrumptious food and cocktails, raffles, photo booth, pet vendors, and so much more!  Click here to see all the details and RSVP.

This event all got started because of pet industry expert, Nikki Moustaki of Nikki Knows Pets, who herself has a serious case of lyme disease for over 2 years now.  Nikki wanted to raise awareness about the disease and help two organizations that are close to her heart at the same time.

Nikki Moustaki

Living on Long Island, many of us have known dogs with lyme disease, and people too, but no one I knew had severe cases like Nikki has. (Nikki lives in NYC and Florida). I have even known a few dogs that have contracted the disease over the years – but were treated and recovered well.   But ticks are everywhere and as dog owners that are out and about with out pups we need to be more diligent in checking our dogs for ticks and even oursleves.  I interviewed Nikki about her illness and the upcoming LymeAid event:

LIPetPlace: When were you diagnosed with Lyme Disease?
Nikki: I was bitten by the infected tick in early February, 2011, and was finally diagnosed after 17 doctors in November 2011. Some people wait years for a diagnosis, so I guess I’m “lucky” in that way, but the infection had already reached my brain, and it’s very hard to root out from there. Most medicines can’t cross the blood/brain barrier — most organisms can’t either, but Lyme is very sneaky and can drill right through the barrier into the brain. One morning I woke up paralyzed on my left side, blind, and unable to speak. The symptoms can be that dramatic, or they can just be brain fog and aches and pains. Some people end up in wheelchairs. It’s a horrible illness.
LIPetPlace: Do you know where you picked up the tick?  Was it in Florida or somewhere else.
Nikki: I was traveling with Pearl [her dog] from Florida to NYC, walking her in lots of shrubbery along the way, so my best guess is that I picked up the tick in the Carolinas, but I have no real way of knowing for sure.
LIPetPlace: Your case is more of an extreme example of Lyme’s is that correct, or we just don’t know enough about it?
Nikki: My case is a very typical case of Neurological Lyme. Lyme is a debilitating and often deadly disease. It affects every organ in your body. The symptoms are wide ranging, all are horrible, and most people have multiple symptoms at one time. For example, at my worst I had over 30 symptoms. I honestly thought I was going to die in my sleep every night when I went to bed, because I just knew that someone who felt as badly as I did could not possibly wake up in the morning. Then I’d wake up and actually be upset that I woke up, because I was so sick I wanted to die. Fortunately, I found a Lyme Literate Physician (there are very few) and he has saved my life. I’m still sick, but this disease takes patience and a variety of treatments over a long period of time. There are people far sicker than me, and people who get better faster. It’s a complex disease that’s not very well understood at this time, believe it or not. I encourage everyone to watch the documentary, Under Our Skin, if they want to know the truth about Lyme and why it’s so difficult to diagnose and treat.
LIPetPlace: What do you suggest to people and pet owners as a preventative so they don’t get bite by a tick, but still live their lives?
Nikki: I recommend tick protection on all animals. For humans, there is clothing that’s treated with a natural chemical that will repel ticks. Do tick checks on your loved ones when they come indoors from walking in the grass or hiking. As for me, I’m scared of grass now, and bushes, and weeds! You wouldn’t catch me camping or hiking for a million dollars. That’s how horrible and devastating this disease is for me, and for most people who don’t catch it in time to eradicate it.
LIPetPlace: This is the first LymeAid event, I have never heard of anyone doing an event for Lyme Disease before.  In raising awareness about the disease through the event what else do you hope to accomplish?
Nikki: During the month of May, Lyme Disease Awareness Month, there are several benefit events across the country, but I think that we are the first dog-friendly Lyme event. Dogs get Lyme too, and it’s important for pet parents to learn about this illness as well. I know for a fact that I got my infected tick from my dog Pearl.
LIPetPlace: and last one…What are you looking forward to most at the benefit?
Nikki: I want to say that I’m most looking forward to the cupcakes! But I can’t eat cupcakes because of my strict ‘Lyme Diet,’ so I guess I’m most looking forward to seeing all the doggies and listening to the amazing entertainment that we have lined up, including the band, Damn Glad and the Presidential Inaugural poet for 2013, Richard Blanco. The event is catered, we will have an open bar, lots of fun things to do and see — it’s going to be a blast!

The event’s Presenting Sponsors are:
Click here to see all the amazing companies that are donating product to the swag bag, who will be there as vendors and much more.  Tickets are $20 per person (in advance) $25 at the door, and if you or you dog wears any shade of green – you will receive raffle tickets!

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