Interested in starting your own journey in health education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adina Bercowicz, Founder and Executive Director of LymeTV, located in Portland, ME, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your members?
LymeTV is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization dedicated to educating the global community about Lyme disease & other dangerous tick-borne infectious diseases located worldwide. We are a diverse team of patients, advocates, caregivers, & people who just love our mission. We envision a world where tick-borne diseases are well understood, rarely caught, & quickly treated. Our mission is to reduce the incidence of dangerous tick-borne diseases through prevention, education, & outreach.
Tell us about yourself
My story began with a bite. I founded LymeTV in December 2017 after I became permanently debilitated by tick-borne diseases. I was diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease through a spinal tap; by then, I didn’t recognize my own car. In total, I had six tick and vector-borne diseases and needed to be admitted into ICU for treatment. While the tick diseases are now gone, I still require ongoing infusions to treat the secondary diseases and damage caused to my neurological systems. We see this often with COVID; however, long-term symptoms and damage have been known to occur with other infectious diseases as well, including Lyme disease.
I knew nothing of ticks or tick diseases before being diagnosed. After I was diagnosed and wanted to learn more, I noticed a significant lack of education among the general public and a schism in the medical community. So I vowed to make a change, and my mission now is to help ensure that people are aware ticks are a serious public health threat so they don't end up like me and so many others like me who have lost their health to tick-borne diseases. Prevention is so important.
What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?
Seeing our organization sustainably grow and establishing LymeTV as a peer with larger, national tick organizations. We are coming up to being five years old and have accomplished so much as a volunteer-led, women-led, disability-led organization. Myself and other leadership team members have been selected to serve on federal panels on the topic of tick-borne diseases, including the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Panel. We are able to provide community services with limited grant funding, and I have built a team of very skilled and passionate volunteers who share the same mission of disease prevention. My biggest accomplishment is our growth and the impact we have in our community.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being an organization?
One of the most challenging things for me is that I have limitations. Any business or non-profit has constraints, and every person has their own physical limitations. When I want to do so much more, accepting limitations without feeling defeated is not easy.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?
- Always assess the need for your services or product in the community you want to serve.
- Creating partnerships is more impactful than considering others as competitors.
- Launching any business or org is a lot of work, but you can create real change. Do what you are passionate about!
Where can people find you and your group?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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