BUFFALO, NY - A local advocacy group has teamed up with a state senator from Western New York to raise awareness about Lyme Disease.
Experts say this spring and summer will be one of the worst tick seasons in recent memory.
Rebecca Roll is the founder of Lyme WNY.
"Lives have been shattered by this disease, but today we are putting one small piece back together," she said.
Lyme Disease has impacted Roll's life in more ways than she ever thought -- when a tick bit her husband, Chuck.
That was over three years ago.
"I did not even know I got bit by a tick," he said.
The symptoms were devastating.
"I started with high fevers, joint pains, horrible headaches, losing my memory, I actually started to lose my vision -- it goes on and on," he said.
Experts say in most cases, the standard for care is 28 days of treatment that's covered by insurance, after that, patients are on their own. Lyme Disease can stay in your body months, or even years. The Roll's say they ran into problems with medical coverage.
"Where it goes after the 28 days is seeking out these specialists who are willing to treat it," Rebecca Roll said.
Chuck says once a month he had to drive to Pennsylvania to find a doctor to treat him and pay out of pocket.
The CDC reports that New York state had 3,252 cases of reported Lyme disease in 2015 -- that's one of the highest of any state in the country. As part of the state budget, State Senator Chris Jacobs says $400,000 has been allocated for research, education and prevention efforts.
"I look forward to working with the local Lyme Disease community to identify impactful projects that will benefit from these funds," he said.
The Roll's hope efforts can be made to educate the medical community more about the disease and push for adequate coverage.
There is a bill in Albany that would require a state commission to issue a report on coverage for chronic Lyme Disease.
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