About Lyme Connection.
Lyme Connection is a unique community-based organization, founded by families impacted by tickborne disease. We offer BLAST prevention programming as well as patient support services and educational events. Lyme patients and their families benefit from our free monthly support groups, seminars, annual conference and health fairs. Medical and mental health providers take part in the professional programs Lyme Connection offers to improve patient care.
Run by caring individuals who have directly experienced the impact of tickborne diseases, our organization understands the essential role wellness activities and educational resources play in recovery. We connect people to the fellow patients and professionals who can help make what is often a lonely and complicated experience less daunting.
Thousands of patients have turned to us for information and support since the group was created in 2003 as the Town of Ridgefield's Lyme Disease Task Force. We welcome your questions, donations and participation. Come join us.
Our mission is to make the community a healthier place by preventing tick-borne diseases and supporting patients and their families throughout their illness.
Lyme Connection began as the Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force (RLDTF) in 2003. This committee was established by First Selectman Rudy Marconi in response to the growing incidence of Lyme disease in Fairfield County. In 2008, in partnership with the Ridgefield Health Department, the BLAST Lyme Disease Prevention Program launched with a $50,000 start-up grant from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). In 2013, RLDTF introduced the name Lyme Connection to reflect its pivotal role in connecting patients to each other and to essential support services.
Lyme Connection offers a wide range of nationally-recognized programs based on the needs of the community it serves. Today, we must address the fact that Lyme disease has risen to epidemic proportion, with over 400,000 new cases diagnosed annually according to the CDC. New, very serious tickborne diseases are complicating what was already a highly controversial diagnostic dilemma. Despite the statistics, little private, state or federal funding is directed toward community-based efforts to support patients or educate the public about prevention. We are proud of our accomplishments, but recognize that the fight to eradicate the pain and suffering caused by tick-borne diseases is far from over.
Lyme Connection Milestones
- 2003 Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force created as a town committee
- 2003 Initiated ongoing series of community-based educational seminars
- 2007 Created and continue to direct annual, free Lyme Disease Conference and Health Fair at Western CT State University
- 2007 Established first of two free monthly Lyme Patient Support Groups with Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Assoc. (RVNA)
- 2008 Developed partnership with the Leir Foundation to present free annual seminars for health professionals
- 2008 Awarded $50,000 startup grant by CT DPH for BLAST prevention program
- 2008 BLAST Prevention Program endorsed by CDC
- 2008 Began participating in community-based tick-borne disease research projects
- 2009 Presented BLAST Lyme prevention program to physicians and nurses at Norwalk Hospital “Ticked Off” Lyme Conference
- 2009 Helped draft and pass Connecticut HB6200 which provides physician protection in CT
- 2009 Launched corporate Lyme Disease prevention program with Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies.
- 2010 Appointed to Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) Tick-borne Illness Task Force
- 2011 Presented BLAST program at CDC/EPA Promoting Community IPM for Preventing Tickborne Diseases conference in Arlington, Virginia
- 2013 Partnered with Fairfield Public Schools and Fairfield University Nursing Program to develop prevention program for grade-school children
- 2013 BLAST/WestConn Lyme Disease prevention poster selected for 13th International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and other Tick-Borne Diseases in Boston, Massachusetts
- 2013 Received $4,000 grant from Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) now recognized as the Western CT Council of Governments (WestCOG) to train BLAST Lyme disease prevention educators for health events in the Greater Danbury area
- 2013 Published first issue of the Lyme Connection newsletter, a quarterly online publication connecting patients with essential news and resources
- 2014 Launched Lyme Connection website
- 2014 Launched Lyme Connection Facebook Page
- 2015 Successfully led the legislative effort to include BLAST Tick-borne Disease Prevention Program funding for Connecticut Health Departments. Despite near unanimous support, Governor Malloy rescinded all funds in final end of year budget cuts.
- 2015 Developed Lyme prevention social media campaign with Discovery Communications through their Creating Change initiative
- 2016 Partnered with Ridgefield Library to develop a comprehensive two-year series of educational seminars
- 2016 Received $20,000 grant from WestCOG to sustain and grow the BLAST tick-borne disease prevention
- 2016 Received 3-year, $25,000 Elizabeth White Grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to assist Connecticut tick-borne disease patients with medical bills.
- 2016 Presented BLAST Tick-borne Disease Prevention Program at Connecticut Public Health Assoc.(CPHA) Annual Meeting, New Haven, CT
- 2017 Debuted first billboard campaign to encourage year round tick-borne disease prevention awareness
- 2017 Successfully partnered with Western CT State University to secure $25,000 EPA Healthy Communities Grant for prevention
- 2017 State of Delaware selects the BLAST Prevention Program for statewide campaign