Archive for Fundraising for Lymies

Make My Christmas Wish Come True?

// December 5th, 2010 // 3 Comments » // Eric's Blog, Fundraising for Lymies, Lymie Support

Okay…actually I have several wishes this year.  I’m calling them my Christmas wishes in hopes that it will get many of you to help me out with these projects so that my wishes can come true.

Many of you have heard the story of Elizabeth Chalker, a young, brilliant woman in Florida who is fighting for her life thanks to the effects of Lyme disease, Endometriosis and other health problems.  I’ve gotten to know Elizabeth over the past few months, and can say she has a truly amazing spirit and soul.  On my bad days, when I feel sorry for myself or irritated at the situation Lyme has caused in my own life, I often look to her for inspiration.

To learn more about Elizabeth’s story, as well as the fundraising efforts taking place to get her the treatment she needs, please visit Help Elizabeth.  In addition, through all she has gone through, she has written a book “Hanging On by the Scratch Marks my Nails Left Behind”.  ”Lizzie”, as she has been nicknamed, shares her story and her faith with us in this journey she has written.  I can’t wait to read my own copy, which I’m getting for Christmas.  (Christmas wish #4 can now be checked off the list.)  To get your copy of her book, or to learn more about the book you can visit Lizzie’s Book Page.

But the real reason I’m writing this, is there is a campaign started on Facebook to do something nice for Elizabeth this holiday season.  Elizabeth lives alone, and is battling this disease by herself, with the help and support of many people who are trying to help her.  Someone had the brilliant idea of starting a “1000 Christmas Cards for Elizabeth Chalker” campaign.  For those of you on Facebook, you can also view the 1000 Christmas Cards for Elizabeth Chalker page.

The idea is simple.  Get a Christmas card, put $1 in it (or more if you’d like), write some words of encouragement, love, holiday greeting…whatever you want, and send the cards to Elizabeth to help brighten her holiday.

One of my Christmas wishes is to see that Lizzie receive 1000 Christmas cards this year to help brighten a difficult time in her life, during a season where we strive to remember those in need, as well as the reason for our holiday celebrations.  I’m asking all of my family and friends to take part in this (be prepared for a group email!!!)  I’d also like to ask the readers to join in also.

There are always so many wonderful causes, charities, people who need help and organizations that help them to support during the holidays.  I know most people try to give back for all they’ve been given during the holiday season, I’m asking that you add one single card to a sweet girl who could use the support to your kindness this holiday season.

All cards can be sent to:
Elizabeth Chalker
c/o Dr. Corey Cameron
6292 La Costa Drive
Suite D
Boca Raton, FL 33433

It’s Like Christmas Eve, Only Instead Of Santa Coming It’s Charity

// August 12th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Eric's Blog, Fundraising for Lymies

This is the eve of the second benefit fundraiser that my friends and coworkers have put together for me.  The first one was in October, I remember little of the night, it was 2 weeks before my first visit with a Lyme specialist and I wasn’t in too good of shape.  I do remember it being a beautiful night, surrounded by my friends and family…all the people that help make my world special.  The amount raised was within $100 of the cost of my first appointment with the Lyme Dr (which many of you know can reach well into the thousands of dollars before the first visit is done).

At that point in time we thought I would be starting with this Lyme specialist, and sooner than later be “well” again and back to work.  It’s been 10 months since then, and here I lay…still in bed, still too sick to work, still fighting against Lyme disease and it’s co-infections.  Never did any of us think it would take this long, or be such a rough journey as it has been.  But 10 months later I am still here, and fighting harder than ever to beat this.

The opportunity to be treated by a specialist who is one of the best is definitely a blessing.  The cost however, is not.  I’ve struggled a lot in the last year with that issue.  It’s worth every penny to get the care I need and see someone who can properly treat me, but the never ending guilt I feel at becoming a “charity case” still tugs at my pride on a daily basis.  I have to remind myself on a regular basis that everything before me is opportunity, and that if I can’t get out of bed to do something, then I’m no use to anyone, including myself.

I feel guilty for all the people who can’t see a Lyme literate MD.  For those who can’t afford to travel to the few places where a Lyme treating Dr can be found.  For those who can’t work and have families to support, so they can’t even consider treatment an option.  For those who don’t even have the option of seeing someone that can help them.

That’s when I have to step away from the guilt and remember my purpose.  I made a conscious decision this year to play an active role in Lyme disease awareness and activism.  There are many reasons I made that choice.  The biggest reason was because I had so much negative energy in me and my life, all because of Lyme.  I was angry at what Lyme was doing to my life.  I was angry at what I was seeing it do to so many other lives.  I was rotting away laying in my bed day after day with no purpose.

Months later most of you know of my involvement in the Lymenaide awareness campaign, and the various projects we have done and are still doing.  There are days I cannot focus or work through the pain to do all that I want to do.  But I do what I can when I can.  I have to remember that my goal to heal and be well again is not just for me, it’s for all the others who aren’t afforded the opportunities I have been.  The ability to be treated and fight this hideous disease gives me an opportunity to be well again so I can put all my energy into helping others avoid the loss that comes with Lyme disease.  It’s not an easy thing for me to accept donations and gifts from people knowing there are so many who are worse off than me.  But it is an easy thing for me to really be involved in helping those people, to giving them a voice.

So I sit here the night before the benefit with very mixed feelings.  I’m humbled by the love and support of the people in my life.  The organizers of this event and all those who are contributing to make it a success.  I rarely feel worthy of such love and caring, especially from those who are “strangers” that I’ve never met.  So many of you have offered donations, raffle items etc. to help make the benefit a success.  The power of such support is overwhelming, and another reminder of why it is so important for me to get better.

I’m excited to be surrounded by family and friends, to see those I haven’t seen in a long time and to see the wonderful and amazing things people have sent in.  I’m nervous about being the center of attention when there are times I can barely handle a simple conversation.  I’m honored to have people care so much about me and my healing that they are willing to go to such lengths to help support me on this journey.  But most of all I am determined.  Determined to give back a hundred fold of what I’m given.  Determined to beat Lyme disease.  Determined to follow the purpose in all of this, and all the lessons I’ll learn on my journey with Lyme.  Determined to stop others from taking this same journey.  Determined to help those who need it, those who don’t have the support system I have or the means to get help.  I am determined.

A special thank you to everyone involved in the planning and pulling off of such an endeavor.  There are no words to describe how much it means to me and how much I truly appreciate it all.  I’m fighting for more than just my own life here, I’m fighting to be well enough to help others and make a difference.  Everyone’s role in helping to make that happen is truly appreciated.  Instead of feeling like a charity case, I instead feel the intense love and warmth from all those who fight alongside me, who add their strength to help pull me through to the other side.  I remember how blessed I am to have such love in my life, people that care enough to do all they can to help me beat this.  I thank God that I am in a position to not only get the help I need, but to also help others.

A good time is sure to be had by all.  I will be posting tons of pictures this weekend, and can’t wait to let everyone know how it went.  There are people coming that I’ve never met before, some from several hours away.  It will be a very special experience to meet these people that I’ve built a special bond with through our illnesses.

It still hurts my pride to have no choice but to depend on others in order to just live.  But the happiness I get from such a blessing far outweighs the damaged pride.

Thank you to everyone involved and for all the well wishes.

F U Lyme Fundraiser for Elizabeth Chalker – The Day After

// July 16th, 2010 // No Comments » // Fundraising for Lymies, LymeBites Blog

(This was written by Helen Raser)
I have one word for last night’s fund raiser for Elizabeth Chalker … WOW! I don’t have an exact attendance count, but suffice it to say, there was wall to wall people, standing shoulder to shoulder, both inside and outside of The Other Bar, one of downtown Orlando’s most popular hot spots.

The outpouring of love that was expressed for Elizabeth was overwhelming. It was especially endearing to know that this came from people who do not know Elizabeth personally, and yet their hearts were captured by the story and of her strength, her faith, her spirit … and also the type of person she is; a person who cares deeply for others, even in the face of her grave battle; a person who when healthy, devoted countless hours of her time, energy and talents to help at risk children and families without payment; a person who, even in the midst of the blazing inferno she is in, still finds ways to help others she does not even know, and even people she does know who have not been there for her. The full scope of her brilliant mind and beautiful heart can never be fully conveyed, but I think last night, it was truly felt.

Elizabeth was the topic of conversation with everyone I spoke to throughout the evening. People wanted to learn more about her and to express their compassion, their prayers, and their support for her plight. As is common with Elizabeth, her spirit and her inspiration were felt, even by those who don’t know her as well as I do.

Even celebrities turned out for Elizabeth … LPGA Tour star, Christina Kim, and members of the rock band, Shinedown, who are currently #1 on the billboards, were not only present, but they donated personal items for the raffle and auction. Besides Elizabeth, the other unmistakable star of the night that many were excited to meet was, Dr Corey Cameron, who is Elizabeth’s mom by mutual choice, and Corey’s other daughter, Colleen, who drove up from Fort Lauderdale for the event.

Speaking of celebrities, some of the most well respected Lyme warriors and activists turned out to support a sister in need, despite the fact that it was a physical hardship for some to be there. It was a joy to see Allison & Mike Caruana, Maria along with her entire family, including husband Mike, daughter and twin sister, Shelly Schrolucke, Alicia McMillan, Cindy & Mike McGraw, Mary Jean Walker, and Kristy Penino. And so many others contributed raffle prizes, cash donations, and most importantly, their prayers and support. Our entire Lyme family was there in spirit and in love!

I have never seen so many raffle prizes and auction items in my life at an event of this type. Because of this, we ran more than one hour overtime, thus interfering with the bar’s regular business. So we had to end the evening before the message Elizabeth had prepared to express her gratitude could be read. I am hoping to be able to post this for everyone to see very soon. We may not have heard her written words, but her voice was as loud and clear as her unique spirit and clearly felt by everyone present.

I do not have adequate words to express my gratitude for the incredible event that Katie Johnston and John Raser organized and hosted … My sincere thanks to The Other Bar for offering their facility, donating drinks, a DJ, raffle gifts, food and a fantastic staff to serve us – my apologies to them for cutting into their regular business by running late … Many thanks to Christina Kim and members of Shinedown for not only being there, but for putting their hearts into it … To the members of the Lyme family who came out to express their love and support, in spite of their own suffering … To all our friends and family who came out on a work night to help raise money for Elizabeth and awareness for Lyme.

Elizabeth’s battle is far from over. The funds she requires for the life saving treatment she needs are still far from her reach. I pray that people will continue to rally for her in any way they are able.

I will never forget this night or the love I witnessed and felt for a deserving young woman who I have grown to love so much! God bless you all for your caring and support!

Elizabeth – I love you and will continue to fight for you!

F U lyme benefit christina and helen
LPGA Tour Star Christina Kim and Helen Raser
F U lyme benefit john and katie
John Raser and Katie Johnston, hosts
F U lyme benefit LIMU staff
LIMU company staff, Corey and Laura (Teri’s nurse)
F U lyme benefit Lyme friends
Members of Lyme family there to support Elizabeth
F U lyme benefit shinedown
Corey and Helen with members of Shinedown…they’re #1 rock band on the billboards!!

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings…

// July 12th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Family of Lyme, Fundraising for Lymies, Guest Authors

Shared with us by, Helen Raser.
Written by, Katie Johnston

Meet my beautiful friend Birdie…
One day soon we’ll take on the world again. Keep your head up, sister.

“I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings.”

(Please stay with me here and read this all the way through)

As you all know, I’m currently planning an event called “F U Lyme” at The Other Bar this Thursday, to help raise money for a lady by the name of Elizabeth Chalker. I had the privilege of hearing Elizabeth Chalker’s story from my dear friend and advisor, Helen Raser. What you need to know about Elizabeth is this: She’s 39 years old, was once an accomplished (PhD) Forensic and Sports Psychologist and athlete. Her passion was helping at risk youth and their families, often without payment. Currently, Elizabeth is dying from Late Stage Lyme Disease & Co-Infecions, as well as Lyme-induced Endometriosis, which have virtually taken over her body. Multiple organs and systems are shutting down. Due to medical ignorance surrounding Lyme disease, she has been suffering for over 20 years, debilitated the last 7 years. Without appropriate treatment she will die an agonizing death.

Elizabeth’s body is wracked with pain 24 hours a day – uncontrollable muscle twitches – daily migraines – seizures – convulsions – constant nausea and dizziness – extreme light and sound sensitivity – excruciating bone and organ pain – inability to sleep more than ½ hour at a time – inability to stand long without blacking out – And with virtually no family to help, she lives alone in a cold, dark apartment, in constant agony. Elizabeth’s only chance for the life saving treatment she desperately needs is in Washington State . But treatment will take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In spite of this indescribable torture, Elizabeth has the most amazingly strong spirit and huge heart. She will help anyone who reaches out to her, though no one can help her. Her dream is to be able to dedicate her life to helping others and make a difference in the world. Helping Elizabeth would be like helping thousands. The world needs Elizabeth Chalker.

Although we’re throwing this bash in an attempt to raise money for Elizabeth, it’s also about raising awareness of Lyme. What you really need to know about it, is this: Lyme disease affects MILLIONS around the world, in every state, and on every continent. It is the fastest growing infectious disease, growing at a rate of over 39%, and is 10 times more prevalent than HIV / AIDS. It mimics, causes or contributes to more than 300 other disease and conditions and is frequently misdiagnosed as MS, Lupus, Parkinsons, ALS, Alzeimers, Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthrits, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Psychiatric Disorders, even Cancer, and much more. It can affect every single organ and system in the body, thus causing neurological, cardiac, gastrointestinal, vision, hearing, psychiatric, and many other issues. Yet people are misdiagnosed every day and left to suffer mercilessly and even die.

The State Attorney General of Connecticut launched an investigation of the IDSA Lyme Panel and determined that their guidelines for diagnosing and treating lyme are FLAWED and that panel members had conflicts of interest (IE: ties to insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, patents, etc). They were ordered to form a new panel and to re-do the guidelines. In the meantime, doctors are operating under those flawed guidelines, denying that Chronic or Late Stage Lyme even exist and that Lyme Disease is rare and easy to treat. And doctors who are willing to become educated and administer proper treatment risk losing their licenses and other penalties. Because of politics, greed and egos, millions of lives are being destroyed. One extremely important life in particular is being destroyed…

Now, onto why this event is so personal for me and back to the caged bird reference… Seven years ago, I met a boy that would change my life, as do most significant people one comes across in this great journey. John became my best friend and soon after, much more than that. He introduced me to a world I never knew existed, whilst also introducing me to one of the most incredible friends I’ll ever have. Life only affords you so many people in life who will actually reciprocate your love for them. Through John, I found an entire family willing to do just that, but more than that, I found my Birdie, the inspiration to all of this madness, to F U Lyme, to the reasons sometimes I find it hard to be empathetic to small problems, to the reasons I only allow myself to be down for only a bit, to the reasons I see the world sometimes with TWO sets of eyes, and to the reason I feel things with TWO hearts… because even though you’re not always able to be with me, Terd, I assure you that you are with me more than you’ll ever know. And while your physical body has not allowed you to experience the world like a 23 year old should, you’ve been with me in spirit on so many occasions.

Cue music, world. Meet Teri Danielle Raser. She’s the most beautiful friend I’ve ever had; has the voice of an angel, or of the Jenny Lewises in the world; the innocent laughter of a kid’s first reaction to the tea cup ride at Disney; a heart the size of Texas, scratch that, more like that of the size of all of Africa; dance moves better than Ashlee Simpson (inside joke); and a wit about her that even Rainn Wilson couldn’t contest on his Twitter page. Aside from all of these amazing attributes, the greatest thing about Teri is that she is exactly that friend every friend wants in life, the one who treats you like you want to be treated, the one that makes you a better person just by being in her presence. This is who she’s always been to me… ever since I met her on that sweet summer day 5 years ago.

Since then, Bird & I have shared clothes, gossip, deepest-darkest secrets, belly-aching laughter, beds, concerts – live & in the car, a room for a summer, and the best of times… but most recently, we’ve shared some of the worst. In February of 2007, Teri was struck with something we spent day in and day out chasing, trying to figure out, to understand, only to be misdiagnosed for months on end until finally determining that she, my very best friend, was suffering from Lyme Disease which has since proven to be the biggest battle she, her family, and her friends have had to fight yet. (Read more of her story from her brother’s eyes here: &

For the last 3.5 years, Bird has endured treatments after treatment, IV therapy, medication post medication post medication, and days and nights on end spent lying in bed, unable some days to even walk down the stairs for family dinner. Her symptoms match closely to those of Elizabeth’s listed above. Too physically sick to stay on her own, Teri was forced to leave Miami mid-sophomore year, at the height of her college career, dominating UM’s best blog, working for a couture fashion designer, all the while owning the Miami social scene. And now her life consists of TV shows on DVR, a very cute and large mini-Shetland look-alike pup Ziggy & his big but smaller brother Hurley, adorable cousins Liv & Iz to brighten the day, occasional phone calls or texts from friends, daily visits from Eva/Chris/John/her parents,.. and finally Grandpa Joe sessions with me when time & her health allows.

The point of all of this story-telling is simply this: if you’re in the area, I’m asking you ever so kindly to show your face at this F U Lyme event this Thursday, July 15th from 7-10 PM at The Other Bar, to bring your $5 and if you have more to spare, please do so. (

If you don’t live in the area, I’m asking you to donate. Contact me about how. Contact John. Contact Mrs. Helen. If you’re in the area and can’t make it OR if you’re not in the area and can’t donate, fine, fair enough. I understand. Just let this all soak in.

For 5 minutes, think about how fragile life is; how drastically it can change in the blink of an eye or in a matter of a night in Teri’s case; how no matter how bad you might think you have it, someone else probably has it worse; how the Government needs to recognize that Lyme Disease is an epidemic… that this isn’t just a story you heard and need to prove true through This is real life. And for me, it’s personal. Really personal. So take your 5 minutes, and help me raise awareness, for Elizabeth Chalker, for Teri Raser, for all Lyme victims in the world… and for all of those people in their lives affected by it.

Bird, you once told me I was never allowed to leave your life. I promise you, on everything, I’m not going anywhere. Not now, not ever. I’ll be here every day, every single day… until you can face the sunshine again. And I promise you the sun will shine again. Although I don’t understand why this happened nor do I like whatever purpose this all serves, if ever I believed someone had the strength to turn it all around, I would place bets on you. High bets, at that. And until then, I will happily grandpa joe it right beside you, making bucket lists the world will be envious of, crying when you feel compelled to do so, and laughing obnoxiously loud just when you need it.

Although your body might make you a caged bird, I hear your song and I know why you sing, and one day soon, you will find freedom again. Please know that but most of all, believe it. Believe it with all your heart, because I believe it with all of mine.

F U Lyme – A Lyme Benefit for Elizabeth Chalker

// July 6th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Eric's Blog, Fundraising for Lymies, LymeBites Blog

For those who are not aware of Elizabeth Chalker’s story, please read it here: Elizabeth’s Story and also on the amazing John Raser’s website, Go Speed Raser’s post on Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s story is terrifying to those of us who suffer from Lyme, we know how bad it can be and cannot fathom what this poor woman is suffering through.  Makes me thankful that my bad days are only as bad as they are, we all need to remember how lucky we are in our illnesses because it could always be worse.

I’ve gotten to know Helen Raser (mother of John and Teri) through LymeBites and my involvement in the Lyme community.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with her and see all that her and her family are putting into trying to help Elizabeth get the life saving help she needs.  I can personally attest to the good nature of this family, and their willingness to help others.  Helen’s daughter Teri suffers from this terrible disease.  Many of you may be familiar with her from our PSA with Candice Accola titled “Teri” – Candice Accola PSA – Teri

John and Helen Raser are joining with others for a benefit fundraiser in Teri’s honor to raise the funds so desperately needed for Elizabeth’s care.

Are you in the Orlando area?  Then there are no excuses – be there July 15th from 7:00-10:00pm at ‘The Other Bar’ located at 18 Wall Street in Orlando.  $5 donation at the door get you one free draft beer or one free call drink, as well as a free raffle ticket. 

If you have items that can be donated for the raffle taking place at the event, please contact us here at LymeBites ( and we will make sure your items get to the raffle. 

If you do not live in the Orlando area, there’s plenty you can still do.  To make a donation towards Elizabeth’s life saving (and necessary) treatment, please visit John Raser’s website for donation info and PayPal links.  Go Speed Raser – Donate To Elizabeth Chalker.

We are a community, and we must support each other in every way possible.  Most of us are struggling financially to get the care we need, or to maintain the treatment we each need.  Not all of us can give a financial donation, but there is plenty you can do.  Share this information with others.  Tell other’s about Elizabeth’s story.  Tell your friends who live in Orlando to make it to this event.  If you only have $1, then donate $1.  Every cent will help to save Elizabeth’s life.

There are truly wonderful and amazing people in this world, including the Lyme community.  Elizabeth is blessed with having some of those very people behind her trying to help her get the help she needs.  I’ve never been let down by the power of the Lyme community, or their ability to get something done when it is important.  This is important.  PLEASE join me, the Rasers, the local Orlando community and the Lyme community in helping to save the life of one of our own. 

No matter how bad we all may suffer with our diseases, it’s important to remember that there is ALWAYS someone suffering more than we are.  It’s easy to wallow in self pity (believe me, I know…I have my PhD in self pity), so let’s take this opportunity to rise above our own illnesses, our own challenges, and pull together as more than just a Lyme community, but a Lyme family…as one of our “family members” needs our help.  Will you join me in stepping up to the plate (I hope that’s the correct sports expression) for Elizabeth?

For more information on Facebook, visit F U Lyme Facebook Event For Elizabeth Chalker.

Please spread the word and let’s help Elizabeth!!!