Two brave campaigners for Lyme disease awareness had their hair cut and beard shaved at Narooma on Wednesday.
Karen Smith, co-founder of Global Lyme Awareness group, had her long red hair cut short, while Greg “Nurk” Watts had his beard shaved off. Both have suffered the debilitating effects of what they are adamant is a Lyme-like disease picked up from Australian ticks.
Doing the honours were hairdressers Marion Motbey and Rosalind Cowley of Salon Mosaic in Narooma, who were happy to hear more about the mysterious illness and support the Global Lyme and Invisible Illness Organisation (GLiIO), a not-for profit association raising awareness of Lyme Borreliosis and other vector borne illness around the world.
This November sees the introduction of its Southern Hemisphere spring fundraising and awareness campaign - “Crop the Mop/Buzz the Fuzz”. And it is hoped the shaving event will become an annual event around Australia.
Half of his proceeds will go toward his former colleague Natalie Young who suffers from Lyme-like disease and the other half will go toward GLiIO’s efforts.
To support Mr Watts, go to his GoFundMe page right here
Ms Smith meanwhile was sending off her freshly-cut long red locks to an organisation that assists women suffering from alopecia or hair loss.
The timing was perfect because Thursday was also the day the final report of the Australian Government Senate Inquiry regarding growing evidence of emerging tick-borne disease that causes Lyme-like illness for many Australian patients was due to be released.
Ms Smith said getting the condition recognised by the medical community in Australia and parts of the USA was only the first part of the battle, as how to treat sufferers and ease their pain and symptoms was a whole other challenge.
“We’re really hoping for funding for up-to-date research,” she said. “The latest research in Australia was back in 1994 and that ignored five or six other studies that showed more research was needed.”