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Chenango Co. Woman's Crusade Against Lyme Disease

By Jason Weinstein.
These are the medications Margaret Leone-Smith took for the year she was bedridden with Lyme disease.

"When I say bedridden, between the bed and the couch and otherwise we were on the road one to two times per week to see specialists," said Leone-Smith.

Leone's diagnosis was neither quick nor painless. Before her health ordeal, Leone-Smith lost her dog Haley to Lyme Disease.

She then suffered from insomnia and sinus infections before suffering a stroke when she was 47. After she struggled with auto-immune diseases for a year and a half before finally getting the Lyme Disease diagnosis.

"Really it was a woman on that chat room from Canada who told me she thought I could have Lyme Disease, that it mimics a lot of other diseases and the current testing is not accurate," said Leone-Smith.

Her two sons were also diagnosed, and her husband Dennis discovered he had Bels Palsy, which Margaret says is a symptom of Lyme Disease.

"How do you know you have it if you don't recall ever having a tick on you, like was the case with my entire family?" asked Leone-Smith.

Leone-Smith organized the first Lyme Disease Conference at Binghamton University last May to raise awareness. It drew leading experts and 400 people. The second annual conference will take place May 7.

"This is a very serious disease with a toll physically, emotionally, and financially on a family. There are many of us going through that," said Leone-Smith.

The Lyme Disease Conference 2016 will take place at Binghamton University's Innovative Technology Complex on Saturday, May 7. The next morning at 11:30 Southern Tier Lyme Support will host a screening of "The Little Things" about a Poughkeepksie family's struggle with the disease that took the life of their 17-year-old son. That will be at the African Road Elementary/Middle School in Vestal. The conference is free but you must register at southerntierlymesupport.org.