Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
A crusader for Lyme disease awareness
Manitoba praises Wood's contribution
A longtime activist who raised awareness about the dangers of Lyme disease in Manitoba has died.
Elizabeth Wood was 65.
Lorne Wood said in an interview from Emerson his wife died Thursday of a stroke she suffered late Wednesday night. She leaves five children and 12 grandchildren.
—Jim Wilson, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation
Wood helped found a support group in Manitoba for Lyme disease sufferers more than two decades ago -- long before the tick-borne illness became a reportable disease in the province.
"The Lyme disease community in Canada has lost a very good ally," said Jim Wilson, president of the British Columbia-based Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation.
He said Wood fought tirelessly to get the Manitoba government to take the disease seriously and acknowledge it is under-reported in Manitoba.
Asked how successful advocates have been in this regard, he replied: "It's a work in progress."
Wood said in a 2011 interview she received a tick bite in July 1985 north of Emerson. She remembered having difficulty removing the insect. When a rash appeared, a doctor told her she had poison ivy.
She later developed severe flu-like symptoms doctors now link to Lyme disease: head and muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue. She continued to suffer the effects of the disease throughout her life. Her insistence -- and that of many Lyme disease research advocates -- that the disease could persist for decades put her at odds with some in the medical community. She spent thousands of dollars of her own money seeking a diagnosis and treatment in the United States.
"She could hold her own (in debate) with politicians, professors, scientists, doctors and anyone else," Wood said.
A week before her death, she travelled to Ottawa to support a private member's bill by Green party MP Elizabeth May that would require the federal health minister to convene a conference of provincial and territorial health ministers, representatives of the medical community and patients' groups to develop a national strategy to address the challenges of recognition, timely diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
The Opposition NDP and Liberals have expressed support for Bill C-442. The governing Conservatives have said they might support the bill if amendments are introduced that satisfy jurisdictional concerns.
A provincial Health Department spokeswoman issued a statement Monday that read, in part: "Through her unwavering dedication to this cause, she has raised awareness of this condition amongst the general public and within the medical community alike, helping us all to better understand the disease. This dedicated advocacy has led to closer collaborative efforts between the Lyme and the health community, ensuring ongoing education, improved surveillance and advancing policy to ensure improved care is an option."
A celebration of Wood's life will be held on Saturday in Winnipeg.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2014 A6
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 50 articles for this week)12/24/2014 1:41 PM 0
Photo Store Gallery
- Break-in on top of her grieving
- RCMP charge more than dozen impaired drivers
- No charges laid in fatal collision
- For some First Nations people, like Tina Fontaine’s family, grieving is part of the yuletide season
- Other alleged victims for therapist charged with assault
- Man, 45, missing since Monday
- Chance of snow today, Thursday
- Guests welcomed with open arms at Christmas Feast in the West End
- RCMP officer faces drug and weapons charges
- Santa, sleigh on course: NORAD
- MTS says services have been restored
- Winnipeg trucker dies in semi-truck collision
- New Transcona Boulevard offically opens today
- Nepinak wants Kelvin teacher fired
- Remains may be decade old
- Oswald officially enters NDP leadership race; promises an "alternative vision"
- Infant remains in locker may be decade old: Brodsky
- Criminal probe into HQ project
- Police seek driver after pickup truck hits pedestrian
- No charges laid against man who killed teen mugger
- Slain man leaves behind nine children
- 'Bannock Lady' faces $3,000 in tickets; vehicle seized
- Trucking firm in mourning after driver killed in crash
- Teacher pulled from classroom
- 'Fun party for two' ends in tragedy
- Photos released of suspects in coat heist
- RCMP investigate allegations of doctored invoices, improper payment
- Semi driver dies in collision at Lagimodiere, Dugald
- Twelve arrested, including former city council candidate; weapons and drugs
- Keep car windows clear or face fine: police
Ads by Google