May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and the latest stats are staggering. Lyme Disease is currently one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in America. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its estimates to nearly 300,000 Lyme cases annually… an almost 10 fold increase. So why aren’t more people talking about this national health crisis?

Well, some are. In fact, Kevin Bacon filmed a powerful PSA on behalf of the Lyme Disease community and the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance to help spread the word.

In our opinion, the one thing that could have made this PSA even more compelling would have been to feature Lyme survivor and warrior – Cheryl Laughlin – in it.

Cheryl Laughlin_BITS OF LOVECompliments of a tick bite while mountain biking in California, this extraordinary Woman You Should Know unknowingly became infected with Lyme Disease that went undiagnosed for 7 years. In that time, it temporarily claimed Cheryl’s memory, stole words from her brain and wreaked unthinkable havoc on her physically.

Ironically, this same malady became the impetus for her BITS OF LOVE jewelry brand and its collection of four letter word rings dedicated to the power of words as instruments of inspiration when you need it most.

Today, Cheryl and her boyfriend (who was also unknowingly bitten and infected on that same bike ride) continue to kick Lyme’s butt by taking excellent care of themselves. She explained, “As long as I watch my diet, life is good. But somehow I keep discovering new odd food allergies. Apparently, I’m sensitive to mint now. Ah, delicious minty goodness, you will be missed!”

Cheryl’s jaw dropping Lyme journey started with heartbreak, fear, and desperation, but eventually ended up in a place of self-empowerment, healing, and triumph. It’s a story that needs to be heard to help raise awareness of this insidious and often debilitating disease. It’s also a beautiful source of HOPE.

Hope_BOLUntil February 2013, Cheryl had never publicly shared the details of her personal battle with Lyme Disease. We were honored that she allowed us to be the first to tell her inspiring story. You can read it here.

PS – If you could actually turn pages on the web, Cheryl’s story would be considered a “page turner”. So we’ll just call it a “scroller”, since it will make you want to scroll on to read every unbelievable detail.