Tahlia to fight for recognition of Lyme disease

ROAD TO RECOVERY: Lyme disease sufferer, Raworth woman Tahlia Smith, is determined to to have the disease recognised in Australia.
ROAD TO RECOVERY: Lyme disease sufferer, Raworth woman Tahlia Smith, is determined to to have the disease recognised in Australia.

Tahlia Smith has vowed to campaign for recognition for sufferers of controversial Lyme disease, as she makes a remarkable recovery following life-saving treatment in Europe.

Tahlia, 21, from Raworth travelled to Germany, Switzerland and Serbia late last year for the intensive treatment, which has her feeling “amazed” at being able to walk for the first time since April, and stopped debilitating seizures that left her unaware of her ­surroundings for hours at a time.

“It’s very frustrating and sad that people have to literally pick up their bags and fight for their life in another country, where they don’t speak the language and don’t know if they’re doing the right thing or not,” she said.

The government does not recognise the existence of the disease in Australia and does not subsidise treatment and medicines.

“This journey has been annoying and hard, but what got me through was the hope that I’d get better and the fact that I was not fighting for myself, I was fighting for others too.

“This is a disease that does exist and we should not be treated like aliens, like kids who don’t want to go to school.

“ We’ve done nothing wrong, we’re just asking for help.”

Tahlia landed in Australia on January 1 and soon lodged a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Lyme-like illness , which will report on June 20.

“I wrote my story and ended it with ‘It’s 2016, it’s time to tick the box’,” she said.

Tahlia still travels to Sydney twice a week for treatment but is now “whizzing around” with the help of a walking frame. 

This story Tahlia to fight for recognition of Lyme disease first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.