LYME DISEASE ASSOCIATION & TIME FOR LYME ANNOUNCE SUPPORT FOR DODD-SANTORUM U.S. SENATE BILL TO ESTABLISH FUNDING FOR LYME DISEASE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, PREVENTION
Dodd Keeps Promise Made at "Time for Lyme"
GREENWICH, Conn., August 4, 2003– The Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA), a national organization committed to eliminating the growing Lyme disease epidemic through education, research and legislation, and Time for Lyme, Inc. (TFL), a Lyme disease research, education and advocacy network, today announced joint support for S-1527 co-sponsored by Senators Christopher Dodd (CT) and Rick Santorum (PA).
Introduced this past Thursday, July 31 in the Senate, the bill duplicates the compromise bi-partisan bill S-969, which passed the Senate October 2002. Senators Schumer (NY), Chaffee (RI), Lieberman (CT), Collins (ME), Reed (RI) and Kerry (MA) – all from states particularly hard hit by Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, have signed onto S-1527 as co-sponsors.. The bill primarily addresses Lyme disease research, education, and prevention.
The introduction of the bill fulfills Senator Dodd’s promise made before hundreds of attendees at Time For Lyme’s annual fundraising event in April 2003. The Senator was honored there by TFL/LDA for his previous legislative efforts on Lyme disease, and he made a public commitment to TFL and LDA not to rest until comprehensive federal Lyme disease legislation was passed.
In his remarks, he lauded the advocacy efforts of the groups, both of which were heavily involved in the effort to develop and pass the original compromise bill last year. In particular, he cited LDA president Patricia Smith as one of the most tireless and effective leaders he has seen in any legislative development effort. LDA & Time for Lyme, who have jointly raised over $3 million for research and education to date, provided funding for the 2002 effort to lobby for development and passage of a compromise bill, S-969, subsequently passed by the Senate. (see photo, courtesy TFL, which appeared in the Columbia University Health Sciences newsletter, In Vivo 26 May 2003).
“Senator Dodd’s commitment to eliminating the suffering caused by Lyme disease goes far beyond the needs of his own State of Connecticut and recognizes the rapid spread of this insidious disease across the entire nation,” said TFL co-president Diane Blanchard.
“Because everyone is at risk for Lyme disease – even in our own backyards–this is a very important and much-needed piece of legislation,” Blanchard added.
Blanchard also reported that Senator Dodd may announce the new bill at a press conference in Connecticut shortly. The bill provides funding and goals and establishes a related advisory council to be drawn from a wide-range of Lyme disease stakeholder groups.
“In helping to bring the need for federal legislation to fight Lyme disease to the attention of political leaders and the public, the strong working relationships LDA and Time For Lyme have established with Senator Dodd and other senate and congressional leaders have been essential,” said LDA President Patricia Smith. “The Senator’s persistence has been key to the senate effort and TFL/LDAs investment in legislative advocacy will return far greater available funds for research, in addition to addressing other Lyme-related issues.” Said Smith, “Other Lyme disease groups around the country worked in tandem with key legislators to forge the compromise bill reintroduced this year. All should be commended for their efforts.”
About Time for Lyme, Inc. and Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
Time for Lyme, Inc., formerly Greenwich Lyme Disease Task Force, is a not-for-profit Lyme disease research, education and advocacy network formed in 1998. Since its inception as a grassroots effort to support local families struggling with undiagnosed or late diagnosed Lyme disease, the organization’s mission has grown, including the production of a Lyme disease in education video now being used around the nation, hosting public forums and providing research support. It also works at both the state and federal levels to advocate for legislation related to Lyme disease. Time for Lyme has raised more than $1.5 million for Lyme disease.
Time for Lyme, Inc. is an affiliate of the Lyme Disease Association. LDA is a national non-profit registered in 29 states and dedicated to prevention education, research and helping patients. LDA has funded dozens of tick-borne research projects nationwide, distributes educational pamphlets and videos, maintains a toll free info line, provides assistance to students with LD, has testified at the state and federal level and met with the military about Lyme issues.
LDA and TFL are partnering with Columbia University to open an endowed research center for chronic Lyme disease to be housed at Columbia. $1.2 million has been committed to date toward the center.
For further information about Senate Bill 1527, Time for Lyme or Lyme disease, please call 203-969-1333. For further information about the Lyme Disease Association visit www.LymeDiseaseAssociation.org.
Pictured at the April 2003 Time For Lyme, Inc. event to raise funds for the Columbia University Lyme Disease Research Center and to honor Senator Christopher Dodd for his work on federal Lyme disease legislation are: L. to R. seated – Time For Lyme, Inc. co-presidents Diane Blanchard and Deborah Siciliano, and L. to R. standing — Patricia Smith, President of the Lyme Disease Association; Dr. Brian Fallon, Director of the Columbia University Lyme Disease Research Center; Senator Christopher Dodd, Honoree; Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal; Dr. Anthony Iton, Stamford (Connecticut) Department of Health.
The Lyme Disease Association and Time For Lyme announced their support for Senator Dodd’s July 31, 2003 re-introduction of Lyme disease legislation in co-sponsorship with Senator Rick Santorum (PA). The move fulfills Senator Dodd’s promise made at the event to continue pressing for passage of this critical bill, which passed the Senate in an identical version in 2002, but without time for the House of Representatives to take it up before the end of that session.