Free Lyme disease conference open to all


MEXICO — A day-long conference featuring several experts on Lyme disease is planned for May 5 at Mountain Valley Middle School.

“We really want to get the word out,” Diane Farnum, co-coordinator of the event, said.

Farnum, a Roxbury resident who is a child support worker, and Rhonda Buker of Newry have collaborated on the event that will bring an internist, optometrist, and several organizations focused on the disease that can affect various parts of the body.

Farnum and Buker have Lyme disease.

Farnum said she decided to bring such a conference to the River Valley area after attending one in New Hampshire.

The conference, which begins with registration at 8 a.m. and ends about 5 p.m., is open to anyone interested in the disease and its possible effects. The event and a lunch is free.

Physicians include Bea Szantyr, of Lincoln, an internist who will provide an overview of the disease, and Mark Weatherbee, Lincoln, an optometrist, who will speak about the effects of Lyme disease on the eyes.

Organizations represented include Mainely Ticks, who will speak on prevention and safety strategies, and MaineLyme, a new nonprofit that provides education on the disease and support for victims.

Farnum said a panel discussion will be set up comprising adults and a child with Lyme disease.  A spouse of a Lyme disease victim who will speak about dealing with the disease and conduct a question and answer session.

A free lunch will be served that is recommended for those with the disease. Farnum said many foods are restricted from Lyme disease victims because of the chance of adding to infection. Those with Lyme will get a chance to learn the best diet for mitigating the symptoms of the disease.

She said all presenters agreed to participate in the conference free of charge. Several local businesses also donated items or gift certificates for a series of raffles.

So far, Farnum has received a couple of sponsorships for the event to help pay the costs of food, and other items needed for the conference. Those interested in receiving more information may contact Farnum at [email protected] or 357-1926.