By Carla Roberts
(KUTV) Aspiring to make it to the 2014 Olympics, professional freeskier Angeli VanLaanen had to put her career on hold for nearly three years. The reason was because of an illness that went undiagnosed for 14 years.
When she was just 10-years-old, Angeli started feeling ill. She had chronic sinus infections, felt fatigue and suddenly developed dyslexia. She went from one specialist to another, seeking answers. “Throughout the years, we just went with one diagnosis. But it would never really go away.”
A family member saw a documentary in Lyme Disease, and told Angeli she should get tested. In 2009, test results confirmed Angeli did indeed have the disease. The diagnosis came 14 years after her first symptoms. “It wasn’t much of a relief as I thought it would be,” said Angeli. “You would think it would have been a relief but it was almost like another journey that I started, which was to educate myself about Lyme Disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme Disease is transmitted through the bite of infected ticks. If left untreated, the disease can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. The disease is treated with antibiotics. Angeli had to put her career on hold to get treatment. “I really focused on being healthy, you know, along with the antibiotics that are going to kill the bacteria that create Lyme Disease. I really had to support my body in overcoming it.”
Angeli’s journey with Lyme Disease is the focus of a new documentary called “Lyme Light”. The documentary is available online. “Our goal with the film is just to get the word out about Lyme Disease. Share what the symptoms are and what people with it go through because when I was diagnosed, everyone in my life had a real hard time understanding what I was going through.”
Angeli will soon begin training to compete in freeskiing. She is considered one of the top female freeskiers in the world.
We should mention that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
If you would like to watch the documentary, just click on the link: http://vimeo.com/neuproductions/lymelight
Official website of Angeli VanLannen: http://angelivanlaanen.com
Lyme Light Foundation: http://lymelightfoundation.org
Lyme Disease Information: http://www.ilads.org
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)