March 27, 2023



Lyme disease is an infectious disease known in many parts of Canada, affecting many Canadians and their families.

Health Minister Jane Philpott announced a fund of up to $4 million for Lyme disease in 2017, focused on research with the goal of improving knowledge about diagnosis and treatment. It aims to help find diagnostics and testing for the right educational prevention and public education awareness in schools, workplaces and departments.

Leanne Stapley, left, and Kim Cooper are sisters who have decided to start a support group to help those with Lyme disease. Photo by Manija Hamidullah, Spoke News

The Government of Canada federal framework on Lyme disease is intended as a guide, in areas where the federal government has a role, to practice to best practices and educational awareness. Progress will be reported on regular basis and the framework will support cooperation among the federal, provincial and territorial governments in regards to Lyme disease.

Leanne Stapley runs the Waterloo Region Lyme disease support group, where anyone interested in Lyme disease can attend to find support and work toward on finding a treatment. The support group is located in Breithaupt Centre, 350 Margaret Ave., Kitchener, Ont. It meets on the second Tuesday of each month, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“We decided to start a support group because we had been attending one in Port Dover, which was too far to drive in the winter, so my sister and I decided to start our own group here. . . . We come together to support each other, much like you would in any support group, and we have been able to have a few guest speakers along the way.”

Stapley’s sister, Kim Cooper, said she “started this group because I wanted to support my sister to have a group to help those going through the same struggles.”

Michelle Davis, guest speaker at the Lyme disease support group, says she enjoys providing information about medical cannabis in order to help people make their own decisions. Photo by Manija Hamidullah, Spoke News.

Michelle Davis, a recent guest speaker at one of the group’s meetings, spoke on behalf of a cannabis company, which she asked not be named. Davis talked about medical cannabis and discussed the legislation and safe and responsible resources for accessing cannabis. She provided tips and advice on using cannabis safely and all the ways to use it medically, keeping in mind those with health conditions, such as asthma and other health complications, with helpful tips on how they should use cannabis.

“I enjoy coming into our groups to do these presentations, even if people aren’t necessarily using medical cannabis,” Davis said. “Just having access to that information [helps] people to make their own decisions.” 

Davis also told real-life stories about those who have suffered with Lyme disease and have recovered, and how it really depends on the person as to whether medial cannabis will work for them or not.

“It really depends on the symptoms of a trying to relieve,” she said, adding that some patients have found it helpful in dealing with symptoms, and that medical cannabis can be considered “another option or another tool in the toolbox” to help sufferers. 

The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Please check The Government of Canada website for more information.

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