SALT LAKE CITY – Jenny Bezzant, current Mrs. Utah United States and President of the Utah Lyme Disease Alliance, presented last week on the need for Lyme legislation in Utah.
Bezzant, along with her treasurer Steve Baugh and Alliance member Kristen Mullein, hope to educate the Legislature on the harm that bills such as the STAR Act will have on Lyme patients. The STAR Act was enacted to stop super bugs – limiting long-term antibiotic treatments.
“These bills that are thought to have noble intentions would be catastrophic for the Lyme community,” Bezzant said. “It would be as dramatic as omitting Chemotherapy and other such treatments for cancer patients.”
Bezzant said the new bill the Lyme Disease Alliance would like to see enacted would protect doctors willing to treat patients with the controversial disease, and to protect patients from losing their ability to be treated or having their treatments denied by insurance companies.
“Despite the possible side effects, it has given me my life back, as well as many others on this same journey,” she said. “The more we speak about this issue, no matter how small the group, someone will hear. Anyone can make a difference. I have already watched many lives change just by attending our monthly meetings.”
The Lyme support group meets at Alta View Hospital the second Saturday of every month from 1 to 3 p.m.
“This is a place where we can safely discuss treatment options and refer each other to people who are educated enough to give proper, effective treatment,” she said.
Lyme Disease is often mistaken for Chronic Fatigue, Lupus, MS and Fibromyalgia.
“It is a disease that is debilitating and has killed many people across our nation,” she said. “It feels like having AIDS and MS all at once. There is an estimated 40,000 people who get AIDS every year. Lyme on the other hand, is showing an estimated 420,000 cases per year. The treatments and diagnosis are difficult but impossible. My life is whole because someone was willing to try, and I was not willing to give up.”
Bezzant will be giving up her title as Mrs. Utah United States this May at the annual pageant, which is being held in St. George this year. For every contestant that signs up, donations are being made to the Washington County Children’s Justice Center and the D.O.V.E. Center. To sign up for the Mrs. Utah pageant, email [email protected] or visit www.mrsutahus.com. For more information on the Lyme Disease Alliance, visit lymeaidetoday.org or [email protected].