Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A crusader for Lyme disease awareness

Manitoba praises Wood's contribution

  • Print
Elizabeth Wood at her home in Emerson, Man. in 2011.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Elizabeth Wood at her home in Emerson, Man. in 2011. Photo Store

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.

'The Lyme disease community in Canada has lost a very good ally'

—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.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 18, 2014 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

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.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / Jan 10  2011 ‚Äì WEB STDUP ‚Äì Frosty morning at -15 degrees C , in pic frost covers the the Nellie McClung statue  on the MB Legislature grounds at 7am
  • A gaggle of Canada geese goslings at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg Monday- See Project Honk Day 05- May 07, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the federal government force band chiefs and councillors to disclose their salary information?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google