Local service clubs have assisted a Strathmerton teenager in her fight against crippling symptoms possibly associated with Lyme disease.By Jemima Lewis
Strathmerton Lions and Lioness clubs have respectively donated $300 and $200 to help 15-year-old Chelsea Farrant get a blood test in the United States that can determine whether she has contracted the disease.
Chelsea was bitten by a tick 14 months ago and has since suffered from daily headaches, arthritis, swelling, rashes and dizziness, all symptoms of Lyme disease, said mum Cindy.
Chelsea received a negative Australian-based Lyme disease test result, but Mrs Farrant said there were flaws in the local testing procedure.
‘‘We’ve ruled out so many other diseases we’re not left with many other things that it could be,’’ Mrs Farrant said.
‘‘If a tick bites you it can also give you other infections.
‘‘In Australia we don’t test for other infections — only Lyme — and some of these other infections can give the same symptoms of Lyme.
‘‘The American test is more accurate and tests for all other infections.’’
To get Chelsea’s blood tested for Lyme disease in the US will cost around $2000.
With medical bills and medicine to relieve Chelsea’s symptoms adding up over time, Mrs Farrant said the cost was too much.
The service clubs’ donations will help pinpoint the source of Chelsea’s symptoms.
‘‘She’s been sick for so long — it’s tapped us out,’’ Mrs Farrant said.
‘‘If we have to sell the house, we have to sell the house — as long as she gets better we’ll be fine.’’
Strathmerton Lioness Club was the first to help the Farrants.
They then approached the Lions club and two Cobram service clubs.
Strathmerton Lioness Club member Val Olsen said it was a pleasure to help a ‘‘young lass’’.
‘‘It’s the start of our fundraising year so we only had $200 to donate but we felt that if other service clubs or clubs around the district chip in we will get there,’’ Mrs Olsen said.
‘‘She is a lass who is local and needs help — if we can help in any way then we are doing something right.
‘‘We wanted to support them — we feel for them.
‘‘She’s only young, is in pain and missing school — and a life.’’
Chelsea is in Year 9 at Numurkah Secondary College and has missed significant chunks of her education.
‘‘One of the main things is the swelling of her hips and knees; it’s really disabling,’’ Mrs Farrant said.
‘‘She has to be at home with her legs up. She used to love cross country at school — now walking is painful enough, let alone running.’’
Although the American Lyme disease test may uncover the source of Chelsea’s discomfort, it is not recognised in Australia.
‘‘The American test isn’t enough for Australian doctors, but there are two doctors in Victoria that I know of that may be able to help us with treatment,’’ Mrs Farrant said.
‘‘They’re expensive but we will do what we have to.’’
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