Lyme Disease Advocate a ‘Hometown Hero’
Kerry Lawler of Watervliet is this week's "Hometown Hero." She earned this title because of her work as a Lyme disease advocate after being diagnosed with the disease herself.
Kerry makes herself available to those who have Lyme disease and need help with what they are going through and making sense of it all. She explained that she does this through either "giving someone a pep talk or just letting them vent to get out their anger, worries and frustration."
As part of the “Hometown Heroes” series, we’ve partnered with County Waste, Latham Ford, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region and Awards by Walsh to celebrate local unsung heroes for their good deeds and honorable work.
We asked Kerry a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What inspires you to to spread awareness about Lyme disease?
A: What inspires me to spread awareness is knowing that the awareness and information I’m spreading can help someone understand what’s going on with them and so hopefully they can get diagnosed and get the proper treatment sooner to keep them from getting sicker and sicker. No one likes being sick, so if there’s a chance to get better faster and the right way, I don’t think anyone would turn that down.
Q: What's the most rewarding thing about what you do?
A: The most rewarding thing is knowing that I have and still make a difference in someone’s life. I talk to a lot of people who have Lyme on a daily basis. I’ve become great friends with most of them and we lean on each other when we need to.
Q: What are some challenges?
A: Some challenges are not being able to do what I had planned to be doing at my age. If I wasn’t sick I would be in college and doing what most people are doing when they are 19. Another challenge is simple: just making it through the day. Every day when I wake up, just as I open my eyes in the morning, I am hit with pain. It’s how I start every day. Sometimes all I can think about doing is doing nothing, but doing nothing gets you nothing. I push myself every day. Even if I am only able to stay out of bed for a few hours it’s better for my mind. Every day I learn that I’m stronger than I was the day before.
Q: Do you consider yourself a "hero?" Why or why not?
A: I wouldn’t call myself a hero. I think I’m more of just a very strong person. When your every day is a struggle and you’re able to make it to the next day, sometimes that’s the best feeling in the world. It may not sound like much, but it is. You don’t know how hard it is to make to tomorrow until you have to fight your way there every day.