SPOTLIGHT: Yamba’s Di Ellis is using her success as a longboarder to spread the word about Lyme Disease.
SPOTLIGHT: Yamba’s Di Ellis is using her success as a longboarder to spread the word about Lyme Disease. Contributed

Your Story: Surfer Di Ellis sheds light on Lyme disease

ONE cold and almost frosty morning in June I hovered around the beach in Yamba where the New South Wales state longboard titles were being held. I knew the over 35 womens division was on first and there was one spot left. After intensive treatment for Lyme disease and its related long term damage I hadn't surfed much and wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to stand on a board let alone compete in the state titles.

I decided to go and catch one wave and if I went okay I would put in a last minute entry. Sure enough I caught one wave successfully, put my name down and came third in the state titles. That put me in the position of being first reserve for the Australian titles.

Now I was determined that I would get into the Aussies if only to bring more awareness to Lyme disease which is not officially recognised in Australia, and hopefully inspire people who are struggling with it.

Despite countless doctor and hospital visits following an immediate allergic reaction to numerous tick bites, it took four years of agonising symptoms before I found a Lyme disease specialist in America who finally provided a diagnoses and much needed relief. Many other holistic practitioners have also contributed to my recovery along the way and I have now formed a support group to share the information I have gained.

Being in contact with numerous support groups in Australia and around the world, and keeping up-to-date with some of the world's leading Lyme disease specialists, it is quite disturbing to see how many people are being affected by this illness. Even more disturbing is knowing how many people may have this illness without realising it.

One of the world's leading Lyme disease specialists and Associate professor of applied Neurobiology, Dr Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD, states, 'We never had in the last five years a single Multiple Sclerosis, ALS (Motor neuron disease) or Parkinson's patient who did not test positive for Borrelia Burgdorferi. Not a single one.'

A Murdoch University research report published on 25 June 25, 2015 in the journal, Parasites and Vectors, found Borrelia relapsing fever group, Bartonella henselae and a new type of Neoehrlichia bacterium, Anaplasma and Rickettsia in the Australian paralysis tick providing the much awaited scientific evidence that Lyme-like pathogens are present in Australia. Lyme disease can mimic Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Motor Neuron disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Autism, ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Mental health problems and more.

Having overcome many of the symptoms which correlate to a number of these illnesses makes the experience of being able to surf in the Australian Longboard Titles even more satisfying. Taking up the invitation to participate, despite my exhaustion, I was thrilled to surf well in my heat and semi-final taking one of the highest wave scores. Placing third in the final of the over 35 womens Australian title was not only an honour but a blessing.

I am very proud of my daughter Lily, the former Australian champion, who placed second in the junior womens, and fourth in the open womens events. At times it has been very difficult for her watching what I have been through, but she is a very strong and brave girl. The support we have had from local longboard club and our community is incredible and greatly appreciated.

I am passionate about returning the goodwill that I have received. The support group for Lyme disease and all chronic ill-health meets the first Monday of each month at the Treelands Dr Community Centre, Yamba.

Phone 6646 1478 to confirm in case of public holidays. Monthly guest speakers include a doctor, nurse, naturopath, homeopath, nutritionist, recovered patients and more.

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