Farallon Project Geologist Lyndsey Needham helps others negotiate the road to recovery.
Lyndsey really was born a coal miner’s daughter. During her journey from Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest, Lyndsey has been in both the right place at the right time and the wrong place at the wrong time, and has overcome tremendous challenges along the way.
After graduating from Boise State University with a Master’s degree in Geology, Lyndsey moved to Bellingham, Washington to pursue her passion for mountain bike racing. “I worked in a bike shop for 6 months when I arrived in Bellingham,” Lyndsey recalls. “One day in 2007, Paul Grabau [Operations Manager of Farallon’s Bellingham office] walked into the bike shop and mentioned something about geology. When I told him I had a Master’s degree in Geology, he told me he had an open position at Farallon. Classic right place at the right time scenario!”
Although she didn’t know it at the time, Lyndsey also had been in the wrong place at the wrong time: “I contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite while I was attending a field camp for geologic mapping in Italy in 2004. After recovering from the initial symptoms without treatment, I returned to my regular life and continued mostly symptom-free until 2009.” Lyndsey’s symptoms worsened until she was no longer able to live the active life she loved, although it took another 2 years to diagnose her illness. “Finally,” Lyndsey says, “I tested positive for Lyme disease in 2011, and began treatment. While I was in treatment, I started a blog to share my story, and to connect with others who also were going through treatment and recovering from Lyme disease.”
Lyndsey’s first blog post sparked an outpouring of support. “Connection with others was so important to my recovery,” she recalls, “I wanted to provide the same support to those still struggling with Lyme disease.” Readers of her blog began contacting Lyndsey for support and advice in navigating the overwhelming amount of information available about the disease. “Since I have a background in science and technical writing, I can understand and interpret current research and treatment modalities, and share that information with others in a more digestible format.”
Lyndsey also offers personal support to people who reach out to her. “Over the past 3 years, I’ve met probably 30 people either in person or over the phone who are newly diagnosed with Lyme disease. I share my knowledge about the disease and effective treatments, and my experience with mindfulness practices, helpful diet, and supplement modifications. Sometimes what people need most is for someone to simply listen to them, to be present with an open heart to hear their struggles, and to let them know they’re not alone.”
Farallon is very fortunate that Lyndsey was in the right place at the right time to become part of our team. The people she helps navigate chronic illness are perhaps even more fortunate that Lyndsey was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and through surmounting her own challenges found such a powerful way to help others.
For more information about current research and statistics, Lyndsey recommends the Global Lyme Alliance.