On May 5, 2012 approximately 100 people attended the first annual Mt. Valley Lyme Disease Awareness Conference at the Mt. Valley Middle School in Mexico. As co-founders of the conference, we would like to thank all of the attendees as well as the people, organizations and businesses, etc., that helped make this very well-attended and extremely important event a reality.
To our husbands, Wayne Farnum and Raymond Buker, thank you for your emotional, physical and financial support. Hopefully the VISA card has stopped smoking by now! To Jessica Rodrigue, thank you for doing all the cooking to feed 100 people. To Annette Clifford, thank you for the use of your catering equipment. To Cindy Touchette, thank you for helping out with registration, raffle ticket sales, etc. To Sue Holmes, thank you for manning the Maine Lyme info table. To the Rumford Falls Times, The Bethel Citizen and the Lewiston Sun Journal, thank you for all the excellent pre-conference press coverage. To WVAC,thank you for filming the morning sessions.
To Dr. Szantyr, Dr Weatherbee, Barb Maurais from Mainely Ticks, Happy Dickey from Maine Lyme, thank you for so willingly donating your time and expertise to speak throughout the day. To Darcie Buker, Angelyn Addams, Sharon Hawkes, Sally and Lisa Jordan, thank you for being brave enough to share your personal stories during the afternoon's panel presentation.
To Irvings Forest Products in Dixfield, Pat's Pizza in Bethel, Brooks Bros. in Bethel and The Root Cellar in Bethel, thank you for you financial support.
To Scoops in Rumford, Bethel Foodliner in Bethel, Maine Line Products in Locke Mills, CrossRoads Diner in Bethel, Dick's Restaurant in Mexico, Visible Changes in Andover, Island Indulgence Spa in Rumford, Chrystal Schaffner a Thirty-One Consultant in Silverdale, Washington, thank you all for your donations of merchandise and/or gift certificates. If we forgot anyone we are truly sorry.
To all the folks who attended and especially those who stuck it out through the whole, looooooong day, thank you, thank you , thank you! This was a dream come true for us. To gather so many people together and share such great wisdom and information in hopes that maybe just one person learned something that keeps them from going through what so many of us "Lymies" have gone through.
Plans for next year's conference are already underway so mark the first Saturday in May on next year's calendar. Anyone wishing to be involved in the planning process, who would like to help in any way, who have ideas for speaker topics, who would like to make a donation or wants/needs information, please feel free to contact either of us.
In closing we'd like to share the poem "My Time With Lyme" written and read at the conference by 11-year-old Sally Jordan who has Lyme disease. Her words speak for so many of us......
"I never know when I awake which part of my body will ache.
My words are jumbled, my mind's a blur
How I wish there was a cure.
My joints are stiff, my head is throbbing
My life the Lyme is robbing.
Why didn't my doctors here see
What was deep inside of me?
I felt like they didn't even care
About all the symptoms I had to share.
Sometimes I can't even go to school
Because the Lyme likes to rule.
My body has felt like this for years.
I often go to sleep in tears.
By God's hands I met Dr Jones.
He's my hero, he didn't leave me alone."
Thanks again to all of you. We look forward to seeing all of you and more next year.
Diane Farnum, Conference Founder
Rhonda Buker, Co-Founder