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Monday, November 3, 2008

Leslie Rae Wermers

This is our dear friend Les from Minnesota Lymefighters, with the pumpkin bear we sent her for Halloween. She has been a tireless advocate, despite her own struggles with Lyme and co-infections. She was in the Lyme documentary, "Under Our Skin." Recently Les attended the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) Conference in San Francisco and was energized by all the research news.

Anna and I spoke on the phone with Les on Saturday and she excitedly filled us in. She told us that she had been able to spend some time with Dr. Willy Burgdorfer. He is the research scientist who discovered the Lyme spirochete, which is called Borrelia Burgdorferi. She had become friends with him simply by calling and letting him know that he was a hero to those of us in the Lyme community. In San Francisco she gave Dr. Burgdorfer hugs from Anna and me too. She gave me his number and urged me to call him. She was also responsible for a large box arriving at our house, full of free tick-removal tools to hand out at the next movie screening. We gleefully told her it had arrived and shared our news about Anna's NPR interview. We talked until everyone was tired, then said I love you and goodnight.

Last night I came home to a phone call from Paula, Les' partner. I felt the ground open underneath me as Paula tearfully told me that Les died yesterday morning. Then I had to go and tell my daughter. We held each other and cried for the loss of our beloved friend.

So, the next time a doctor tells you that Lyme is, "Hard to get, easy to treat, cannot get chronic, and cannot kill you," you look them straight in the eye and give them her name, Leslie Rae Wermers. Tell them to get educated.

Rest in peace and be without pain, my beautiful friend, we'll continue the fight for you. I promise.


Stephanie Frieze said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Lorraine. Hug Anna for me. Maybe someday the medical community will take chronic Lyme seriously.

JosephMcG said...

Thank you, Lorraine. Your post touches me deeply and I join you during this hard, hard time.


BetterHealthGuy said...

Leslie was a hero to me and to many. I will miss her greatly. She was such a warrior. I am saddened by this loss. I remember us giving each other a big hug just two weeks ago in San Francisco at the ILADS conference. I will remember her always.

Kim Thompson said...

To my friends Lorraine and Anna:

I know about Les from earlier conversations. I am saddened to hear this news. From what I've learned about her life and spirit, I'll bet I would have liked her very, very much. Bravo to her for her tenacity. Bravo to all of you for your friendship together and advocacy.

You see, people like her, profiled lovingly like this, well, it gives passion and power to the rest of us to forge on and work towards the goal at hand.

Love, Kim

Lorraine Hart said...

Thanks for paying tribute and gathering in comfort around us all. I've always said, perhaps we can't change the world...but a corner of it touches each and every one of us, with lots of room to work.

Les was a force of nature who could start one helluva ripple effect! There are nationwide shockwaves at the moment.

Betterhealthguy...thank you so much for coming in on this. We would've loved to have been at the ILADS conference but Anna can't travel right now. Thank you for all you do.

It's not how long...but what we do with the time we have.

Rev Deb said...

I met her at the ILAD conference and she was so amazing and vibrant. Is there any news on service for her?


Lorraine Hart said...

Not sure what the plans are yet. I will post here as soon as I know.

Lorraine Hart said...

I just poke with Leslie's beautiful sister, another incredible Lyme Fighter, Tracie. She thanks everyone for the love that is pouring out for Les. You can go to their website... will be guided to a place to leave written tributes and be given information on this coming Friday's memorial. We will also plan a west coast memorial at a later date. You are still welcome to leave comments here...Tracie was so touched to come here and see. She is being held...and, as always, her sister stays close.

Gayle Trenary said...

I am Leslie's aunt Gayle. Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute to Leslie. My world was turned upside down when I got the news of her death. It is so comforting to know she was loved by so many and she touched so many lives. There will always be a special place in my heart for her and I will love her forever. Please keep Leslie's family in your thoughts and prayers as we struggle through the next few days. Thank you all again.

Lorraine Hart said...

My dear Gayle, how my heart goes out to you at this difficult time. We are honoured and touched to have your company here.

All of Les' family certainly has our prayers, thoughts and love as we bid a tearful farewell to our beloved Lyme Warrior.

Sharon Whiteman said...

A tribute to Leslie:

Dear All,

I just wanted to share this blog I wrote on the 'Under Our Skin' site about the passing of Lyme activist and friend Leslie Wermers. It includes links to videos about her, and it would be nice if you could share this throughout cyberspace and the blogosphere. I want Leslie and her memory to continue to inspire others as she did so generously in life.

Warmest Regards,

Andy Abrahams Wilson
Executive Director/Senior Producer
Open Eye Pictures, Inc.
2656 Bridgeway, Ste 202 | Sausalito, CA 94965
Tel: 415.332.3266 | Fax: 415.332.3256

Lorraine Hart said...

Thank you so much Andy: my daughter and I watched the interview and shed some more tears and smiles. Thank you sir, for all that you are doing for the Lyme community.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad, but Lyme Disease alone didn't kill Leslie. Lyme Disease had a 'helper' - all the radiation emitted by area cell phone and wifi towers.

Please google Mobile Phone Emissions Increase Worm Fertility, the Becker Interview, and the Bioinitiative Report.

I pray Leslie's sister sees this.