Mission & History
Our mission is to make the community a healthier place by preventing tick-borne diseases and supporting patients and their families throughout their illness.We have been a vital part of our community for fifteen years.
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. The first online Lyme Connection newsletter debuted in November 2013, this website in May 2014.
Lyme Connection has created 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 350,000 new cases diagnosed annually according to the CDC. New, very serious tick-borne disease 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.
- 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