According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the United States. However, it is estimated that up to ten times as many cases may go unreported due to limited laboratory diagnostics and lack of public awareness. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted to humans through a tick bite. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue. Some people may see the characteristic “bulls eye” skin rash, while it may go unnoticed or not appear in nearly half of others. When second-grader Olivia Goodreau began having body aches, brain fog, headaches, and other symptoms that persisted over many months, her parents grew worried. After visiting over 55 doctors in a period of 18 months and undergoing an array of tests, Olivia was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013. Her parents believe she contracted the disease on a family vacation, although they did not see a classic rash or notice a bite. After one course of antibiotics, it became clear that the delay in treatment meant that Olivia would not be cured of Lyme. Olivia, now 14 years old, is required to manage her disease with over 80 pills a day and monthly intravenous immunoglobulin treatments. She and her mother, Holiday Goodreau, devote much of their time to helping others with Lyme disease with the hopes of one day finding a cure.
Holiday and Olivia founded the LivLyme Foundation, which promotes research and patient support for those with Lyme disease. In addition to providing financial assistance to families of children suffering from Lyme disease, the LivLyme Foundation funds studies for Lyme and tick-borne diseases research. The foundation provides grants to scientists with research projects focused on better testing, improved treatments, and finding a cure for Lyme disease. Another part of the LivLyme mission is to deliver tick education and awareness around the globe. Together, Holiday and Olivia developed a free mobile application called TickTracker as an educational tool for identifying and combating tick-borne infections and diseases. The app allows users to track and report ticks in real-time using their geographical location to keep others aware. The app also uses game-based learning to educate users about tick identification, prevention, and safety. TickTracker was selected for The Opportunity Project’s 14-week Health Sprint and recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as one of the most impactful technologies of the program. In 2018, Holiday and Olivia facilitated the first LivLyme Summit in Colorado, which focused on the global research efforts towards finding a cure for Lyme disease and the eradication of tick-borne diseases. Scientists from all over the United States, as well as from Australia and Europe, participated in the summit. The second annual LivLyme Summit is scheduled for September 21-22, 2019 and will feature over 15 expert speakers on Lyme disease.
In her ongoing efforts to find a cure for her daughter’s disease, Holiday continues to advocate for Lyme disease patients and their families. Holiday participated in the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group subcommittee “Access to Care & Patient Support”, is a member of the Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome Research Board that funds studies toward better treatments for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, and was selected as a 2019 fellow for The Gratitude Network, which involves a 12-month leadership development program for those dedicated to serving children and youth. Holiday served as a consumer advocate for the FY18 Tick-Borne Disease Research Program peer review.
Last updated Friday, May 3, 2019