Introducing the trustees
We are a group of people affected by Lyme disease. Most of us are scientists and we are all volunteers, fitting LDA activities around our daily lives.
Stella Huyshe-Shires, Chair
Stella started her professional life as a plant pathologist, before undertaking a research fellowship with IBM into the use of databases in plant research and moving into computing. She contracted Lyme disease in 1999 while working in her garden in Devon: her husband noticing a large erythema migrans on her back. She was diagnosed 3 long years later following a positive blood test. She was eventually retired from her IT job in the NHS on the grounds of ill health.
Gardening, music, old houses, and old wines are her main interests and her husband shares all of them except the gardening. She joined LDA in 2007 and became chair in 2009.
Gail lives in Gloucestershire and runs her family, grandchildren, church events and everything else with unfailing humour despite still suffering the effects of Lyme disease. Gail contracted Lyme disease in September 1996 having been bitten whilst playing golf. Within 2 weeks of the bite she could no longer play 36 holes of golf in a day in fact could hardly walk. It took many years of private research to establish the real cause of her sudden debilitation and eventually get some treatment.
Gail joined LDA in 2005 and has played a major role in both the conference organisation and the shop. She runs the latter almost single handed, sending tick lifters out across the country.
Sandra Pearson, Medical Director
Sandra qualified in medicine in 1981 (GMC registration 3114973) and trained in psychiatry whilst raising a family. She became an NHS Consultant in Adult Psychiatry in 2002 and moved to Devon with her partner Rob in 2007. She did not realise the significance of the bull’s eye rash on Rob’s leg in the summer of 2008. This was diagnosed as ringworm and after several months of Rob suffering increasing pain and neurological symptoms, she Googled the rash. A blanket drag with a local tick expert confirmed the presence of ticks in the back garden.
By Christmas 2008 Rob was severely ill. Sandra and Rob cancelled their wedding and she became his registered carer. She ceased working for over two years, but since his diagnosis and treatment has been able to return to work in psychiatry. Sandra and Rob married in 2012 and have begun to enjoy travelling and socialising again now Rob is mostly recovered.
Sue Ockwell, Press and PR
Sue lives in Twickenham and happily admits to having no scientific background whatsoever – she’s a PR girl (well, 50-year-old-plus woman). She too has had Lyme disease (probably contracted in Scandinavia in July 2007). Diagnosed a year later by a private hospital, she was given a three-month course of intravenous antibiotics, which made her feel dramatically better while, simultaneously, making her husband considerably poorer. She still has joint problems and believes that Lyme disease led to dermatomyositis which, in turn, gave her Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, diagnosed in October 2010. In 2013, coming up to two years post chemotherapy, she’s
finally relishing the pleasure of visiting the hairdresser once again and has notably more energy than for a long time; there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel, for which Sue is infinitely grateful.
Personal interests away from work include four much-adored pet cats, gardening and a rather neglected allotment (this is the year!), plus visiting France with her husband.
Her company, Travel PR, has handled public relations for Lyme Disease Action free of charge since June 2009, helping to raise awareness of Lyme disease amongst members of the public and the medical profession alike.
John Pym, Webmaster
Following a maths degree, John fell quite naturally into computer science though he spent a lot of time sailing, rock climbing, playing squash and participating in many other adventure sports. In 2001 he developed a debilitating headache for which no specialist could find a reason or a treatment despite scans and tests. 3 years later he was prescribed antibiotics for a gum infection and his headaches, fatigue and other symptoms became markedly better. Typing “antibiotics cures headaches” into Google he discovered Lyme disease. Off work for a long period, John has been treated with several long courses of antibiotics. He relapsed between them initially but now considers himself cured and is back to full time work and full time sailing.
John joined LDA in 2005 and has managed the web site and conference booking system ever since.
Denzil is a Senior Design Engineer with a specialist medical equipment company in Cornwall. There he is responsible for product mechanical design and is part of a team that manages the quality system. In his spare time he trains in a martial art, enjoys hillwalking and is an archery coach.
It is a day spent at a woodland archery range in 2005 that exposed Denzil to Lyme disease. He spent the following 12 months with debilitating pain and fatigue before finding a specialist who diagnosed and treated him successfully with a long course of antibiotics.
Stephanie Woodcock, Hon Treasurer
After a period of becoming extremely unwell in the 1980s, Stephanie was thought to be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. As a trained microbiologist, she felt she was manifesting signs of an unusual infection. Her doctor accepted the results of her research into this possibility although not a great deal was known at that time. She did remember some recent bites, so she was treated with a high-dose course of antibiotics against presumptive borreliosis. During this very prolonged treatment she recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome and has been in a good state of health ever since. She has always felt that she was extremely lucky.
Stephanie is one of the founder members of LDA and was chair of the charity from 2003 to 2009. She lives in Cornwall with her husband and pursues many other interests including reading and the visual arts.
Wendy was bitten while visiting Scotland in the early 1980s. Despite a clear erythema migrans rash, the lack of knowledge about the disease meant she had no treatment until 15 years later, by which time she was very ill with Lyme symptoms. After following some of the first peer-reviewed treatment protocols from America and Europe she thought she had recovered from active Lyme disease and was able to return to full-time work as a research fellow, although with some presumably irreversible neurological damage. Symptoms reappeared after oral surgery involving a large but short dose of antibiotics. Again, the disease responded to appropriate antibiotic treatment.
Wendy currently tutors a variety of Science and Health courses for the Open University and brought her scientific mind to LDA in 2003 when the Charity was formed.