For Daryl Hall and millions of others, living with Lyme disease is serious business. But the mood was lighthearted as the pop singer, minus partner John Oates, blasted through his hits at a benefit for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation at a gorgeous Portola Valley estate.
About 300 people attended the fun and lavish dinner bash Sunday at the home of Laird and Sherry Cagan. Sherry Cagan, one of several founders of the foundation, also has Lyme disease.
“We’re here to facilitate change,” Sherry Cagan told the guests, who donated at nearly $400,000 by the time the festivities concluded. Laird Cagan told the crowd, “That tick bit the wrong chick.”
Established in 2012, the foundation’s primary goals include finding a cure for the late stages of the infectious disease, which is caused by bacteria carried by ticks, as well as improving diagnostic methods.
Today, patients suffering from Lyme disease’s wide array of symptoms — rashes, joint pains, fatigue, facial paralysis, poor memory, palpitations and others — often get diagnosed incorrectly, making the disease even more debilitating.
Research, prevention and early treatment are additional issues the foundation, collaborating with Stanford University scientists, is addressing, as the incidence of Lyme disease is on the rise while funding toward finding solutions remains inadequate.
Dr. John Aucott, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine scientist specializing in creating effective blood samples for Lyme disease research, said the shifting ecology in the U.S. from cornfields to housing developments represents the “perfect environment for the spread of Lyme.”
But Gayle Collat, a BALF co-founder who has witnessed her friends suffering from the disease, has hope. She says, “We love our animals, we love the outdoors. We’re not going to give that up. We’re going to educate the public, promote prevention and make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure.”