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As the founder of “Ticked Off Mass.” and co-founder of “LymeLITE.org,” I’m am thrilled that Rep. Jen Benson and her supporters are advocates for Lyme disease, but disappointed to see that Lyme disease is being used to gain votes.

You’ll have to look elsewhere for an issue when it comes to Kurt Hayes and Jen Benson. Kurt reached out to me early last year as he was seeking to spread awareness and education about Lyme disease. He was an answer to my prayers after going it alone for over a year after my daughter was diagnosed with Lyme disease after a devastating misdiagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

The result was Kurt and I co-founding LymeLite.org. I had already met with Rep. James Arciero (D) and Rep. Robert Hargraves (R) when I met Kurt. It was Kurt who introduced me to both Jen Benson and Jamie Eldridge, as he sought to raise their awareness and gain their support for our efforts on H1148. Obviously, Kurt did a good job.

It never mattered to Kurt that he ran against Jen a year earlier. He only had a sincere interest in helping others avoid the road his family had traveled as his 8-year-old son went through misdiagnosis and treatment for Lyme disease. As Kurt has said to me, “those ticks don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat, young or old … they are non-partisan.” Perhaps that is why the list of co-sponsors for H1148 is filled with legislators from both parties.

I’m not much for politics, but as an advocate of Lyme disease I feel obligated to say I have a tremendous amount of respect for all politicians that have been involved in our fight. So I must speak up when I see someone within the community trying to use Lyme disease to win votes. I encourage you to decide who earns your vote based on matters of taxes, spending, jobs, or whatever issues you care about most.

But don’t let someone tell you that Jen Benson deserves your vote over Kurt Hayes because of Lyme disease advocacy. It is Kurt who brought Jen to the table on that issue. I was there when it happened.

DONNA CASTLE

Groton

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