A 22-year-old Canadian woman has committed suicide after struggling with Lyme disease “to free herself from the excruciating pain,” her father revealed in a heartfelt note.
The disease has “essentially hijacked her,” her father, Alain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, said in a public tribute on LinkedIn posted after her death.
Amelie Champagne fought for years without being diagnosed with the disease, but continued with her studies at university and worked at a special needs children’s shelter despite the pain.
The disease, which can be contracted from tick bites, was much more advanced than physical symptoms and had serious consequences for her brain.
She received a positive diagnosis in the US last year after years of struggling with her condition. But it came too late to relieve her symptoms.
Amelie campaigned heavily for people with autism, according to her Facebook profile.
Amelie Champagne, 22, had started volunteering at a homeless shelter, helping disabled children despite struggling with Lyme disease for years.
Her father, lain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, shared a post on LinkedIn after his daughter committed suicide ‘to free herself from the agony’
“We are confident that she is now at peace and that her mind shines bright on the large number of people she touched during her short stay with us,” Alain wrote.
The young woman had also started volunteering at a homeless shelter near her parents’ home in the months leading up to her death.
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is often transmitted through tick bites.
The tick-borne disease affects more than 200,000 people in the United States.
The earliest signs of Lyme disease include a bull’s-eye rash and flu-like symptoms.
A round or oval rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually occurs within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash may have a darker or lighter area in the center and may gradually spread. It is usually not warm or itchy.
The rash may be flat or slightly raised and appear pink, red, or purple if it appears on white skin.
It may be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin, and it may look like a bruise.
“The resilience and continued optimism she displayed in coping with the ever-increasing symptoms was and remains my main inspiration,” her father wrote.
“Despite the fact that every breath and moment at this stage is painful, in her honor we will try to continue living our lives on the same level as hers.”
Although her illness had progressed to an unbearable point, she remained a lively member of her community, her father said.
He concluded, “We will love you forever and cherish every memory of our great time together. You made us all better people. It is now up to us to take up the challenge…’
The post had nearly 8,000 likes and 1,571 comments on Tuesday.
In the comments, people shared their own tragic stories about Lyme disease.
Lyme disease, experts say, is usually treatable, although rare chronic cases often go undiagnosed.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed to people who contract Lyme disease.
But those for whom prescriptions don’t work are referred to a hospital or clinic where they can be given stronger antibiotics.
Chronic Lyme disease is much more serious than the cases normally contracted.
Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease are similar to those of Lyme disease, but more severe. They include pain, fatigue, neurocognitive and behavioral symptoms.
It can also lead to other diagnoses, most of which are neurological and rheumatological conditions.
If Lyme disease is not treated, patients may experience severe headaches and/or neck stiffness, skin rashes, arthritis, loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face, palpitations, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and shooting pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
Pets can also contract the disease and show similar symptoms to humans. The disease is not contagious.
Alain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, shared the tragic message on LinkedIn
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