Talking Ticks in the Hasidic Catskills

'Yesh Tickva' Aims to Raise Awareness About the Disease

Summer Idyll: Ticks abound in the picturesque Catskills.
Tiner Ralph, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Summer Idyll: Ticks abound in the picturesque Catskills.

By Danielle Schlanger

Published May 25, 2014, issue of May 30, 2014.
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Rachel G. believes all parents and physicians should be aware of Lyme disease when their children return from camp.

“I think it should become mandatory that a part of the well visits [checkups] after the summer should be Lyme testing, and people can get diagnosed right away,” Rachel G. said.

But primarily, the group provides support to those battling the illness. The first meeting included members of the Orthodox community suffering from Lyme disease, and caregivers of those with the illness.

“In our community, there is so much support for everyday life,” Rachel G. emphasized. “If anyone is diagnosed with cancer, there’s an organization that will set them up with insurance…. There’s a spina bifida support group. There’s an infertility group going through [in vitro fertilization].”

“For most of us in Yesh Tickva, we have been similarly incapacitated as cancer patients, although without the benefit of a support system,” Rachel G. added. “I was lost, and no one understood me. Yesh Tickva is about finally belonging somewhere.”

“We all say, ‘Maybe God will answer our prayers, we will all be healed, help the people the way we needed help,’” Rachel G. said.

Danielle Schlanger is a graduate student at Columbia University. Her freelance work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, Business Insider and The New York Times’s blog on Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.


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