Letter: Lauren Smith, Leesburg

Editor: Every day thousands of Virginians suffer from the debilitating effects of Lyme disease. I know this firsthand because I am one of them.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I had to take off three months off my sophomore year of high school, and had to take a year off again, this time from college to recuperate once more. Thankfully, I was treated in time and have slowly but steadily begun to recover, but others are not so lucky and suffer from the lingering untreated side effects of this terrible disease for years.

My doctor thinks I was born with Lyme disease, and only after multiple tests was the diagnosis confirmed with false negatives.

Fortunately, our Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock, has been working hard for years to help improve the treatment of Lyme disease. As a state delegate, she passed the Lyme Disease Information Disclosure Act to mitigate the problem of unreliable tests by requiring State Health officials to provide information to doctors regarding the possibility of inaccurate test results. This landmark bill made Virginia the first state in the country to pass Lyme disease legislation.

Without Barbara’s mandate, my infection could have resulted in further incapacitation.

And since going to Congress, she has continued to bring awareness to this disease. She joined the House Lyme Caucus and has cosponsored several important pieces of legislation related to this issue. She cosponsored the 21st Century Cures Act, which establishes an Interagency Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, responsible for overseeing federal activity on Lyme disease and proposing changes in Lyme disease research and treatment programs. In addition, she supported the Tick-Born Disease Research Accountability and Transparency Act, which provides the Department of Health and Human Services more funding for research on Lyme disease.

Because of Congresswoman Comstock’s tireless work to bring awareness and hope to those suffering from Lyme disease, like me, I will be supporting her in November and I urge you to do the same.

Lauren Smith, Leesburg

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