Help Whitney beat Lyme!

For: Whitney Herline
Asheville, NC
Organizer: Shannon Herline
Help Whitney beat Lyme! (Whitney Herline)
$9,125
of $10,000 goal.
Raised by 112 donors
91% Complete

The Story

If you have had the privilege to meet Whitney, you know that she's brave, beautiful and amazingly strong. She always puts the happiness of others before herself and now she needs us to do the same for her.

Whitney is my twin sister; she is 29-years old and has been fighting chronic Lyme Disease for the past two years. We think she was infected in 2011 from a tick bite in western Michigan and really started being impacted by the illness in 2014. She was healthy, strong, and training for a half marathon. Within a time span of a few short days, she could barely walk without gasping for air, had severe back pain, was crushingly tired, and was experiencing what we later learned was brain fog.

After a year of multiple doctors, tests, and misdiagnosis, she finally visited an acupuncturist who took the time to listen to her symptoms, how they progressed, and what her life looked like during the previous year. She found that Whitney had severe adrenal fatigue and recommended she find a doctor to test for the cause, specifically looking for infections, parasites, or bacteria. In July of 2015, she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, Babesia, and Anaplasmosis.

Up until this point, my family and I had really no clue what Lyme disease was, how you got it, or how it was treated. The past two years we have learned more than we ever though we would know about ticks and tick-borne illnesses, while watching her navigate this crazy disease and fight for her health.

Why Now?
There is no known treatment for Lyme and patients and doctors go through a lot of trial and error to figure out what works. People who have the most success use a combination of traditional (antibiotics, supplements) and holistic medicine (acupuncture, Chinese medicine). Insurers do not cover Lyme disease treatment and patients pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for the care that they need. 

As you can imagine this can get really expensive, especially because in addition to not knowing the best treatment, doctors are also unable to say how long treatment will take. Similar to many patients in treatment for Lyme, Whitney is now unable to work due to chronic fatigue and reactions to antibiotics.

We have been really fortunate that she has gotten the treatment and care she’s needed, but after over a year the costs have piled up - over $15,000 to be exact. She’ll be completing her next treatment protocol over the next 6 months and we want her to focus on healing without the added financial stress.

Please know that we will still consider this a huge success if we earn nothing but well wishes. Lyme disease can be very scary and lonely; positive words of encouragement and shows of support will make a huge impact! If you are able to support, please know that every little bit helps take a weight off her shoulders and lets her focus on healing and getting her life back. 

What donations will pay for
Right now she’s doing the bare minimum of what her treatment requires due to cost and accumulating debt. 

Here's a breakdown of some of the expenses donations will help cover:

  • Antibiotics & Supplements: $500 per month
  • Doctors Appointments: $160/half hour, once a month
  • Holistic Treatments: $400 per month
  • Lab Panels: $200 - $1300 per test depending on coverage
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for reading and supporting Whit. We know she's going to get through this and can't wait to share back with you the story of how she crushed this disease!

Love,
Shannon, Whitney & our whole family :)


More on Lyme
In Whitney's own words, "Lyme Disease sucks!". 

Lymedisease.org, a great resource for Lyme and other tick-borne illness, provides a bit more scientific information. They describe Lyme disease as a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks, and on the West Coast, black-legged ticks. These tiny arachnids are typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Lyme disease has been found on every continent except Antarctica. It is found all across the United States, with a particularly high incidence in the East, Midwest, and West Coast.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. That’s 1.5 times the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS each year in the US. However, because diagnosing Lyme can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme may be misdiagnosed with other conditions. Many experts believe the true number of cases is much higher.

Lyme disease affects people of all ages. In addition to contracting Lyme disease from a tick-bite, many people can contract a host of other co-infections.

If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, it may become late-stage or chronic. This may also occur when early treatment is inadequate. It may spread to any part of the body and affect any body system. Typically, it affects more than one body system.

Other resources we recommend include the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center

Blog
You can keep up with Whitney and her journey at her blog, Then She Healed. Even when she's sick, she is still trying to help other Lyme patients gain back control of their lives through Positive Psychology!



Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 14, 2017

Posted on March 14, 2017

New update from Whit - please read...it's a good one!!

Hi everyone,

I wanted to give an update on where I am at with my treatment and express just how grateful I am for your donations last year. Treating Lyme disease is a game of chance and not all treatments work for everyone. Without your help, I would not have been able to find what works for me or been able to afford my prescriptions, which were absolutely necessary for my healing.

Here's what I've been up to in the past year:
  1. Tried new therapies: IV therapies, Acupuncture, Bio-magnetic Pairing Therapy, Infrared Sauna, new antibiotic protocols
  2. Got extensive lab work done to rule out other serious issues that could have hurt my chances to heal (mold toxicity, heavy metal toxicity, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, gene mutations, gut health imbalances, adrenal problems, etc)
  3. Monthly (sometimes twice a month) appointments with my Lyme Specialist to keep my healing on track and adjust treatments as soon as possible when needed
I’m happy to say that the new therapies are working and my symptoms have decreased enough to where my doctor was comfortable taking me off the harsher pharmaceutical and herbal treatments! 30 is looking good on me :)

Now, I am focused on keeping my body strong and supporting my immune system. This is an excellent place to be in treatment. I have also been doing a Lyme Magnetic Protocol Therapy, which some of you may have seen on my Facebook - I'll post a picture here too! This treatment would not have been an option without your help and I am pretty confident was the key to getting my health back.

With your help, I was able to focus on healing and reduce the stress of the financial burden of Lyme disease. I cannot even begin to explain how big of a deal this was to getting where I am today. So, THANK YOU!!! :)

Overall, I am 75% back to health and taking my healing day by day. It could be years before I'm back to complete health but the last 25% is so much better!! My nutrition and lifestyle are going to be the key to keeping me healthy now and I'm looking forward to carefully getting back into the world!

Thank you all again for your kind support and donations. There really isn't a good way to express how much you have helped me.

Posted on September 7, 2016

Posted on September 7, 2016

Hi everyone – It’s been a while since our last update so here it is - plus a few of my personal thoughts. Photo cred to the wonderful Melina Coogan.

Whit’s been having a rough few weeks lately so there isn’t much to report, although she’s still exploring new treatment options and is eager to try them when her energy gets back up. As with many Lyme patients, her immune system is very depleted and the severity of her symptoms come and go. Right now, she’s focusing on getting through this flare up.

The reality of Lyme disease is that there is no way to know how you will feel when you wake up. One day you could open your eyes feeling energetic and pain-free. You take advantage of the boost by doing laundry, grocery shopping and seeing your friends because you are certain that tomorrow you will crash – the pain will come back, your energy will plummet and you will probably be too nauseous to get out of bed.

Coming from someone who has never fought through a chronic illness I have NO clue what my sister, or the hundreds of thousands of people with chronic Lyme, go through every day. The best I can do is learn about Lyme, spread awareness and boost her mood every now and then. If you know someone in need of a smile I encourage you to reach out, say hi, even send a cute puppy picture…we can all agree that puppies brighten everyone’s day. Thanks friends :)


Posted on August 8, 2016

Posted on August 8, 2016

At three minutes to midnight last Sunday night, the Massachusetts Senate voted 37-1 to override Gov. Charlie Baker's veto of a bill requiring health insurers to cover long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, joining Rhode Island and Connecticut as the only states to provide insurance coverage for Lyme Disease treatment! Check out the news coverage here!

Also passing along the latest update from Whit :) "Inspired, Appreciative, Hopeful, and Grateful. That is how all of your generosity has made me feel these past few weeks. I can't express enough how thankful I am to everyone who has been so thoughtful to contribute to my healing in so many wonderful ways. In the past couple of weeks, I have been sent words of encouragement, offered incredibly helpful advice and resources, and had the chance to catch up with many old and new friends. Your contributions have drastically reduced my stress levels and I've been able to whole-heartedly pursue treatment paths that were not open to me before - and I am very hopeful they are actually making a difference already! If I haven't had a chance to thank you personally yet, please accept my apology and I am making my way to you soon! Thank you again to everyone

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