Watching tonight's episode brought tears back to my eyes. Seeing my children, my mom and friends show up to support me, speak for me and listen for me meant more than words can ever say. We who suffer from chronic Lyme can only ask for our loved ones to try to understand and be compassionate about this invisible disease. Thank god I am blessed with a small circle that has guided me through these years and never let go. The Global Lyme Alliance gala was a huge success. Together we raised over $3 million dollars that evening for research, proper diagnostics, and to one day find a cure!
Thank you to my co-hosts Allie Hilfiger and Thalia who have also dedicated so much of their lives to educating others about Lyme disease. My gratitude is eternal, and we are proof that it takes a village to make the change we wish to see in this world. Let's continue to unite and create communities that support one another.
Rather than writing a blog on tonight's episode and rehash negativity, I will let the truth find its way!
I like to share with you the rest of my Global Lyme Alliance speech in NYC...
Yolanda's Speech, 10/8/15
Thank you Gigi for your beautiful speech! Thank you for exceeding every hope, dream and expectation I ever had for you. I am so proud of all that you do and all that you are.
In 2013, after a challenging two years of long-term IV antibiotics and six weeks at a clinic in florida, I received the "Star Light" award from the Lyme Research Alliance for my advocacy and strength to light the way of Lyme disease awareness.
At that time I thought I had done my share of giving back to the Lyme community by sharing my journey and flew back home from NYC ready to get on with my life.
Little did I know then that the worst had yet to come. I had only touched the tip of the Lyme iceberg.
Still uneducated about the complexity of chronic disease, I was faced with bacterial, viral infections, fungus, mold, heavy metals, silicone toxicity, and parasites that had infested my body…an eye-opening experience as I initially thought I was only fighting Lyme and wrestling a bunch of spirochetes.
Soon I learned that doctors were quick to treat my symptoms but unable to identify the cause of this multi-faceted disease.
Looking good and feeling like death is a difficult combination for people to understand.
Lyme is like being killed from the inside out and left to uncover your own murder mystery without much clarity from the medical community and failing support of my insurance company.
If I wanted to live, I had to take matters into my own hands. Eleven countries, five states, 104 doctors later, wondering if I would ever be able to live a normal life again.
I honestly don't have the proper words in my English vocabulary to describe to you the darkness, the pain and the unknown hell I've lived these past four years.
I actually did not live, I just existed in the jail of my own paralyzed brain.
This disease has brought me to my knees. Many nights I wished to die and prayed I would just wash away into heaven where there would be no more pain.
But God had different plans for me, he changed my destiny when my two youngest children Bella and Anwar were diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease.
Watching my babies struggle in silence while supporting me in my journey struck the deepest core of hopelessness inside of me, and it is because of them that I am motivated to stand here in front of you today.
I do NOT deserve this award... This award is for Bella and Anwar. This is a token of my promise that I will not allow you to live a life of pain and suffering. I will prevail and walk to the end of the earth to find a cure so that you can live the healthy life you deserve.
No child in this world should suffer the way that you do, and I commend you both on your brave and persistant effort to get well and suck up the disappointment of the endless failing protocols you have tried.
I thank you for your extraordinary selflessness during this journey. Your unwaivering love and compassion has kept me alive and fighting through the darkest days of my life. I am so sorry for all the important things I've missed in your life these past four years.
I used to be a pretty cool, smart, multi-tasking kickass mom, but all three of my children really got short changed with the dumb blond in the white robe that mostly lives her life in bed. I did turn into a professional social media stalker though, liking every Twitter and Instagram post you have ever made, just to let you know that I was watching you from afar and right by your side in spirit at all times.
Getting chronic Lyme disease is probably the fastest way to figure out WHAT and WHO is real in your life…so thank you to my small little village that is right here with me tonight for doing what is right and teaching me the true meaning of family and friendship.
My circle got smaller but my vision got bigger!
I am so grateful for being raised by a stand up mamma, a salt-of-the earth human being that taught me compassion and empathy for others at an early age. It's my Dutch foundation that gave me the balls and courage to share my raw and unedited story with the world!
I never intended to host a pity party but rather a huge sense of responsibility. I truly feel that I would be a real coward to turn my back and walk away from this experience without sharing and giving back to the millions of people affected by this invisible disease and the debilitated lives they live because of this silent killer.
I truly wish life had given me this platform to share something much more fun and glamorous than this, but I proudly stand here today representing all my fellow lymies out there, whose voices can't be heard. I will continue my search and fight for proper diagnostics and a cure affordable for all.
It is my dream to write a book one day and share with you all the treatments, knowledge and spiritual growth I have acquired these past four years.
I am proudly united with the GLOBAL LYME ALLIANCE and together we will fight for a Lyme- free world.
Thank you so much for being here and sharing this special night with me!
Until next week Everyone...