Midcoast Lyme Disease Support & Education (MLDSE) is a nonprofit 501c3 charitable organization that serves the needs of Maine’s Lyme community through awareness, education, advocacy and support resources.

But what does that mean and more importantly, how can we directly help YOU?

We run year-round active support and educational meetings, always free and open to the public (Brunswick, Wiscasset, Damariscotta and Rockland) where we bring in expert guest speakers to help those afflicted with tick-borne disease find ways to cope and manage while on their journey towards health and wellness. Tick-borne disease is often misdiagnosed and complicated at best and hard for someone to find their way through to wellness. We have been there and we do our best to shine a ray light on someone’s path as a beacon of hope, providing what they need.

We help people connect to licensed medical doctors who are well educated and experienced in diagnosing and treating Lyme and tick-borne disease. We are networked with more than 150 doctors throughout the state of Maine.

We offer information to financial resources to help with diagnostic testing and treatment for both children and adults as well as offer direction on how and where to have ticks tested for tick-borne disease.

Our website is a plethora of valuable information for the lay person to educate themselves on everything from ticks to diseases. From the variety of ticks known to Maine and the diseases that they carry to exploring the differences in symptoms in adults versus children. Our website helps people connect not only with medical providers but with our Community Partners, people and businesses that offer beneficial products and services such as pest control for your yards.

We post current training/educational opportunities for medical providers wanting to know more about Lyme and tick-borne disease as well as direct links to current treatment guidelines and protocols (these are monitored by DHHS and maintained by AHRQ’s National Guidelines Clearinghouse, a public resource for summaries of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines).

We host year-round community educational talks, sharing prevention tips to help people enjoy being outdoors and enjoying life in Maine as it was meant to be lived.

We also host educational workshops for medical providers, led by experts in their field. It is our focus to get as many providers educated to help expand resources for the community. Our yearly conferences, always free to attend, has brought in hundreds of people, patients and providers, looking to be connected to resources that we offer.

Given our steadfast commitment to this cause and our tenacious approach to educating and supporting the community, we have been the recipients of educational grants for three years in a row. In 2015, we were invited to join the Maine CDC Vector-borne Work Group and in 2016, we became the Maine partner of the National Lyme Disease Association. Active in Maine’s Lyme legislation movement, we’ve fought for both patient and provider rights and you can find the current Maine laws on our website.

This column, Lyme Time with Paula Jackson Jones, is published online and in more than nine newspapers and seen by more than 80,000 readers. We do not charge for our services, donations are always tax-deductible! For more information about who we are, what we do and how we can help you, please visit our website mldse.org.

Paula Jackson Jones is the president of MLDSE and a survivor of late stage neurological Lyme disease complicated by co-infections. You can email her at paula@mldse.org.