On November 3, 1999, desperately ill and debilitated Lyme patients and their supporters gathered on the Bethesda campus of the National Institutes of Health to highlight their plight to the medical community and plead for help. They were sick and unable to function, but doctors and researchers could not tell them why or provide treatment to make them well again. The National Capital Lyme Disease Association (NatCapLyme) was created to give voice to a community desperately trying to draw attention to the controversary over this devastating disease and, offer support to those it has stricken and move medical and research professionals to effectively diagnose and treat.
Twenty-two years later NatCapLyme, an all-volunteer, national nonprofit, organization, remains dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. Our advocacy efforts support our mission by advancing the pursuit of a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Until that cure is found and made available to all who suffer, we will work tirelessly to bring public awareness to the growing epidemic that afflicts more than 400,000 Americans each year (CDC).
Founded in 2001, NatCapLyme has support chapters throughout Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia. Our members, including our board of directors, have either experienced the disease personally or have loved ones suffering from a tick-borne illness.
We promote prevention through education and awareness, work with legislators to enact new laws, underwrite physician training and fund innovative research to achieve a timely diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses. We initiated and contributed to the passage of the Virginia Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act of 2013. This groundbreaking law made Virginia the first state in the nation that patients be informed of the very real limitations of current Lyme disease tests. NatCapLyme sponsored and obtained successful passage of similar legislation in Maryland in 2016.
We provide education and information to a variety of communities, including federal and state agencies and their employees, the private sector, and all levels of student groups from grade schools to universities. We collaborate and partner with other patient organizations and government agencies that are focused on tick-borne diseases by sponsoring medical conferences, educational seminars, and public events. We provide scholarships to healthcare workers to attend medical conferences specializing in tick-borne diseases, so that they will be better prepared to treat patients with tick-borne illnesses in their communities.
We are proud to announce that Tick Busters: Wanted Dead or Alive, NatCapLyme’s newest children’s educational series, was chosen as one of five winning entries in the Department of Health and Human Services 2021 LymeX Education and Awareness Healthathon Challenge. Each of the selected winners including NatCapLyme were invited to present at the LymeX Winning Solutions Webinar on Thursday, August 12, 2021.
NatCapLyme offers guidance and emotional support to Lyme patients and their families through our monthly support group meetings. Meetings dates and locations can be found at www.natcaplyme.org or call 703-821-8833 for more information.
Over 100,000 patients, family and community members and medical professionals are served by our organization yearly.
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