It’s the insidious illness that’s not recognised in Australia – forcing sufferers of Lyme Disease to pay copious amounts of money for life saving help abroad.

Hyperthermia treatment, offered in Germany, involves heating the body, killing the bacteria behind the disease.

In the final part of this series, we show the lengths many are going to for the treatment, and how you can help.

In a cruel sense of irony – Corrina Chenhall considers herself one of the lucky ones.

Corrina Chenhall
Corrina Chenhall

She nearly lost the family home – after paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatment, including seeking help in Germany.

But it’s been worth every cent.

Unable to walk unassisted for five years, she’s back on her feet – literally.

“The results..you know anyone who knows me anybody who has seen what I was and what i am now, it’s just incredible”

But a delay in diagnosis has taken its toll.

Fellow sufferer Ryan Stig has been to both Germany and Mexico to undergo treatment – but the disease has already damaged his brain and eyes.
Once returning to Australia, care is ongoing.

Left: Ryan Stig and his family. Right: Ryan in treatment
Left: Ryan Stig and his family. Right: Ryan in treatment

Specialists charge up to $800 per visit, and there’s very little financial support from the government.

Tahlia Smith’s bid to receive assistance abroad faces a major hurdle.

No airline will transport her due to the continual seizures – so, the family needs to pay $200,000 for her to travel by air ambulance.

“It’s not fair, we don’t deserve to be treated like Aliens who don’t exist on earth”

Left: Tahlia Smith before she was affected by Lyme Disease. Right: Tahlia in hospital
Left: Tahlia Smith before she was affected by Lyme Disease. Right: Tahlia in hospital

But in tough times – the Hunter community rallies together.

Touched by Tahlia’s story – Peter Hodgson is on the final leg of a 1000 kilometre fundraising bike ride from Brisbane to Maitland.

To donate to his cause, visit the Lyme Disease Awareness Ride Facebook page.

Hunter locals are also working to help Ryan and his young family with a fundraiser http://www.gofundme.com/ryanstig

While any donation will make the world of difference- these suffers say what’s really needed, is for the disease to be recognised in Australia – so patients can be promptly diagnosed – something that could save lives.


This text will be replaced

About Emma Murphy

Emma Murphy is a Reporter and 6PM News Producer based in Newcastle. Born and bred in the Hunter Valley, she's been a part of the NBN News team for close to a decade, Emma attended the University of Newcastle where she majored in Journalism and Public Relations.

One comment

  1. avatar

    Does anyone know why the government won’t admit to it? All I can come up with is that they introduced the tick for some reason and it has got out of hand. Pretty much the same as the cane toad.