Zoe McDougall suffers from Lyme disease but will not get any government help because the condition is not recognised, Sunday, April 24, 2016.
Zoe McDougall suffers from Lyme disease but will not get any government help because the condition is not recognised, Sunday, April 24, 2016. Kevin Farmer

Toowoomba woman battles against Lyme disease

TOOWOOMBA mother Zoe McDougall is trying desperately to fund treatment for a disease that Australia will not acknowledge.

Ms McDougall, 32, was diagnosed with Borreliousis, a strain of Lyme disease, about a year ago after one of two young sons was diagnosed.

She was diagnosed after a blood test sent overseas and in Australia came back positive, but her condition still won't be acknowledge meaning that she gets no help with the cost of treatment and cannot receive a disability pension.

"My son started getting very sick and so we were looking at what was getting him sick and he just happened to test positive to it," Ms McDougall said.

"So they suggested that I get tested as well because if he hadn't been bitten by a tick then chances are I had given it to him. So I got tested as well and found out I had it.

"I have always been slighty unwell, I would always get these illnesses and no one could tell me what they were and they would just go away so I would think it was a virus, but it was probably flare ups of this."

Ms McDougall was in a wheelchair just six weeks ago and at one point had suffered from eight to 10 seizures a day. She has since undergone intensive treatment and been able to walk again.

"I have just finished what they call hyperthermia, and I have done 10 rounds of that, and with that you have to have intervenes antibiotics," she said.

"I am having three weeks off that at the moment and then I get reassessed to see if I have got to do another lot of that. But in the meantime I have to do intervenes at home as well."

 Ms McDougall said the disease affected all of the major organs including her heart and brain and takes over the whole nervous system.

"I have gotten to a stage where I have had one seizure in five weeks but I still get foggy and I still get sick, but that is to be expected," she said.

The hyperthermia treatment costs $5000-$6000 per round and a week of antibiotics costs from $400-$1000.

Ms McDougall would ultimately like to travel to Germany for proper treatment where they recognise the disease, but that would cost about $50,000.

"I want it recognised because there is another generation going to come after me that is going to be in the same boat," she said.

"So many people in treatment are going bankrupt or as you can understand, there has been a few suicides because they just don't see a way out."

Ms McDougall has spent her life savings that she had put aside for her own home and dream wedding. She has received some help from friends and family as well as from her son's school St Saviours Primary School and Eagle Boys Wilsonton who donated 50 pizzas to a pizza day fundraiser.

Eagle Boys Wilsonton franchisee Monty Gilmore, whose grandchildren attend St Saviour's, was pleased to contribute to the worthy cause.

"I was moved when I heard about Zoe's story," Mr Gilmore said.

"I can't imagine the emotional and financial strain that her family is going through, so I am really pleased that we were able to help them out."

To help Zoe raise money for treatment go to gofundme.com/SupportZoe-Alex.

If you or anyone you know needs help call Lifeline on 13 11 14. 



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