Community

Green leader in Langford for Lyme event

Lyme disease is gaining recognition as a misidentified problem in Canada, but it’s not there yet.

Leading the charge is federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who will give a talk on Lyme disease during an awareness-heightening and fundraising dinner hosted by Evedar’s Bistro in Langford next Tuesday (Sept. 9).

“I have many friends and constituents who are living with this terrible disease,” said May in an email. “We need to make absolutely sure that all Canadian doctors are equipped with the tools and knowledge to effectively diagnose and treat patients suffering from Lyme.”

May has been working on developing a national framework to address Lyme disease in Canada for the past three years. Her private members bill, unanimously supported, has been referred to the Senate and will be taken up this autumn.

Fran Jinnouchi, co-owner of Evedar’s with her husband, Marc, heard about what May had been doing for the Lyme cause. Upon inviting her to speak at the event, Fran said, May quickly agreed.

Jinnouchi says the event was initially developed to financially support a close friend, a Langford woman who was diagnosed with Lyme disease after a year of unexplained severe symptoms and lost time at work. Sarah C., who shuns the spotlight, had to go south of the border both for a positive diagnosis and for the treatment her own government can’t provide.

“I care very deeply about my friend,” Jinnouchi says. “It’s difficult to see there isn’t the support or awareness out there.”

She set up the evening as a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to help Sarah cover treatment costs, but it quickly grew into a community event as well.

“As it started to unfold, I realized there is interest out there,” Jinnouchi says. “It raises this social consciousness that we all have a role to play.

“For me, what I’ve come to learn in the last year and a half (about Lyme), it’s alarming. It could happen to anyone. And yet, we all can bring about change.”

As well as the talk from May, the evening includes a two-course dinner donated by the Jinnouchis and live flamenco and Latin music by guitarist Brad Prevedoros, who’s also donating his time to the cause. Scia’new Chief Russell Chipps and T’Sou-Ke Chief Gordon Planes will give a traditional welcome to the territory before dinner.

The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at 2829 Peatt Rd. on Sept. 9. The cost is $50 per person and there will be a cash bar.  Reservations are required and payment is by cash only. To reserve, call 250-391-8636 or email Fran Jinnouchi at franhj16@hotmail.com.

Did you know?

Lyme is one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in Canada. Evidence suggests 10,000 new cases will be reported annually by 2020.

People cannot spread the disease to each other. Lyme results from being bitten by an infected black-legged tick, which are common in rural areas, but can be found in urban areas as well, as they can travel on migratory birds throughout Canada.

Lyme only became a reportable disease in Canada in 2009.

There is no universally accepted test for Lyme disease in Canada.

– Government of Canada, Canadian Lyme Foundation, Canadian Medical Association, Medscape

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com

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