MEET JESSICA SNAJDER: her daughter's diagnosis motivated her to partner with others struggling with Lyme and to help bear their burdens through building relationships.
What led to the creation of Partner in Lyme?
My daughter was diagnosed after 18 months of struggling with chronic migraine and concussion-like symptoms. As I was learning about treatment options, I heard many people say that if they just had an extra one thousand dollars they could get a sauna, or a wheelchair, or pay for an extra doctor’s visit or specialized blood work that would give more details on the infection. I knew something had to be done to help, but I was not sure what.
Once day on Facebook I corresponded with a mother of a 7 year old whose vision and hearing were failing due to neurological Lyme. She needed a wheelchair. I had a wheelchair we were not using. Because it is a national group, I never expected her to be in Connecticut, but she was! We met at a coffee shop, I gave her my wheelchair ,and the idea for Partner in Lyme was born.
How do you hope to support those struggling with Lyme Disease?
$1000 will not cover the cost of Lyme Disease treatment, not even close, but it will sweeten the bitterness of the diagnosis just a little bit. It will help buy that wheelchair or sauna or pay for a doctor visit, which often cost over $500, or a set of essential oils that were just out of reach financially. Partner in Lyme lets a patient or the patient’s family know they have a partner in the battle, someone who understands the struggle and wishes to help carry their burden.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about Lyme Disease?
Many people don’t realize that once Lyme Disease progresses past the acute phase, insurance will not cover it. It is estimated that out of pocket costs to treat Lyme Disease can average $50,000 a year. Treatments such as antibiotics, herbal remedies, supplements, and specialized blood work can easily cost over $1000 a month. Then there are the other types of support like sauna treatments, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, and therapy for dealing with losing the life you once had to chronic illness. Approximately 1200 Lyme patients commit suicide every year.
What have you learned through using t-shirts as a means to raise support?
Partnering with Fund the Nations allowed us to spread awareness of what we do and why. Our nonprofit was founded in February 2020 and has raised over $10,000. We are about to give our 4th $1000 gift. For us, it was never about money, although raising money through donations is vital to our success. We believe in building relationships with those we serve: our donors and our business partners. Our limited edition tee shirts were a key piece of meeting this goal. Not only is it fun, it gives our donors a talking point every time someone asks them where they got their shirt!
What advice do you have for someone who is struggling to raise the funds needed to support a nonprofit during a global pandemic?
Trust in the Lord to provide! When the conversation in the nonprofit community began to focus on how to meet the financial goals for this fiscal year, we did not panic. We knew that as a small nonprofit with very few overhead costs, we would do what we could to assist as many people as possible. God provided multiple ways for us to meet the need, and we did not have a reduction in donors. In fact, we met our yearly goal in just six months!
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