ALL THE WAY BACK

Now re­cov­ered from a battle with Lyme dis­ease, Char­lot­te­town mother bring­ing aware­ness with run/walk event

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STEWART 5)& (6"3%*"/

Now re­cov­ered from a battle with Lyme dis­ease, Char­lot­te­town mother bring­ing aware­ness with run/walk event

Fewer than two years ago, a Char­lot­te­town mother di­ag­nosed with Lyme dis­ease dreamed one day she would be able to play with her chil­dren again.

Ste­fanie Clark, 36, has since com­pletely re­cov­ered af­ter more than a year of treat­ment.

Now, the mother of two young chil­dren hopes to bring some aware­ness to the de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease by host­ing a Lyme Dis­ease Aware­ness 5K Run/Walk on Satur­day in Char­lot­te­town.

It will be­gin on the Con­fed­er­a­tion Trail, be­tween UPEI and the Farm­ers’ Mar­ket at 9 a.m.

“I re­ally am feel­ing bet­ter. I’m do­ing good, it’s crazy,’’ Clark says. “(My kids) are happy to have their momma back. It was a long jour­ney.’’

When The Guardian spoke with the na­tive of Summerside in De­cem­ber of 2015 she de­scribed a life of wak­ing up ev­ery morn­ing com­pletely ex­hausted, un­able to ac­com­plish sim­ple tasks such as folding laun­dry.

With the help of her hus­band, Adam, she got out of bed and went to work, teach­ing Grade 6 at Spring Park El­e­men­tary School in Char­lot­te­town.

Is­land sports fans will re­call Clark was a mem­ber of the Suzanne Gaudet (now Birt) curl­ing team that cap­tured the world ju­nior curl­ing ti­tle about 17 years ago.

Clark was di­ag­nosed with Lyme dis­ease seven years ago af­ter she and Adam went on va­ca­tion to New Hamp­shire to cel­e­brate the news that Ste­fanie was preg­nant.

Along their trav­els, they pulled in for an af­ter­noon swim at a lake in Maine. Dur­ing her swim, Clark no­ticed a bug on her arm and would later learn that it was a black-legged deer tick that was in­fected with Lyme.

Pain and fa­tigue quickly be­came a daily bur­den. She de­scribes it as like hav­ing the flu ev­ery day.

A num­ber of op­tions were ex­plored. Af­ter strug­gling with dif­fer­ent meth­ods of treat­ment for months, a treat­ment plan was de­vel­oped for her in Hal­i­fax but at a cost of $50,000 for 12 weeks.

Her friends im­me­di­ately re­sponded with a silent auc­tion on Face­book.

Treat­ment be­gan in April 2016. Im­prove­ment was grad­ual. It would be Oc­to­ber be­fore she started feel­ing like her old self.

Now, Clark wants to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the dis­ease. She plans on hand­ing out in­for­ma­tion from the Cana­dian Lyme Dis­ease Foun­da­tion (CanLyme).

“I want peo­ple to look at the wal­let cards; to know that that’s a tick and that’s how tiny they can be and how much it can wreak havoc on your life; to sim­ply be aware when they’re out­side or any­where. That’s all I want.’’

If Satur­day goes well and enough peo­ple turn out, Clark says she will give some thought to start­ing up a P.E.I. Lyme dis­ease chap­ter.

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Fewer than two years ago, Ste­fanie Clark, centre, didn’t have enough strength to play with her chil­dren. Since then she has re­cov­ered from Lyme dis­ease. Now, she’s lac­ing up her sneak­ers with her son, Ethan, right, and fam­ily friend Will Yeo to par­tic­i­pate in a Lyme Dis­ease Aware­ness 5K Run/Walk on Satur­day at 9 a.m. It be­gins on the Con­fed­er­a­tion Trail be­tween UPEI and the Farm­ers’ Mar­ket. Ev­ery­one is welcome.

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