TOUCHED BY LYME: Raising awareness, one car magnet at a time

Dorothy Kupcha Leland

Oct. 28. 2021

A Pennsylvania teenager and her mom have come up with a great way to raise Lyme disease awareness in their community. They want to share the idea with everyone. And it’s so easy, you could even do it from bed.

Sarah P, who prefers not to give her last name, was bitten by a tick at age 13. She didn’t have a bull’s-eye rash, a fever, or joint pain—so her pediatrician said, “Nothing to worry about. You’re fine.” (Even though Pennsylvania is a hot bed for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.)

Over the next several years, Sarah developed many seemingly unrelated symptoms that would come and go. Anxiety, headaches, leg pain. Followed by heart palpitations, GI issues, and memory problems. Eventually, POTS /dysautonomia symptoms set in, causing dizziness, nausea, and migraines.

No answers

Sarah saw a lot of specialists: a dysautonomia clinic, a neurologist, a G.I. doctor, an ENT, cardiologists, and physical therapists. Still, no answers and no improvement.

Then a neighbor told Sarah’s mom that her own daughter had been diagnosed with POTS as well. And it turned out that her POTS symptoms were caused by Lyme disease. Spurred on by their neighbor’s story, Sarah’s family sought out a Lyme-literate medical doctor. That LLMD diagnosed Sarah with Lyme and co-infections.

Throughout the arduous treatment process, Sarah and her mom wanted to warn other people about how one bite from an infected tick can ruin a person’s life. But how can you do anything when you are so sick and exhausted? How do you join a Lyme march in Washington or give a public speech when just getting out of bed is so difficult? The idea of Lyme advocacy seemed utterly impossible. And then Sarah had an idea.

Car magnets

While out on a drive with her mom, Sarah noticed a car sporting an awareness magnet for another disease. Hmmm, she thought. Could that work for Lyme? Would people even pay attention to it?

Then, she thought, what if you created a more specific magnet—such as NEURO Lyme Awareness, or CARDIO Lyme Awareness?

That might pique people’s curiosity. “NEURO Lyme? What the heck is THAT?” Such questions might lead them to pay more attention to the topic.

After a bit of research, the duo found that magnets can be quickly created via an online printing service or a local print shop. Soon, they turned their family van into a mobile bulletin board.

They’ve been so happy with the results, they want to share this idea with everybody.

Sarah and her mom have already done the design work. You are welcome to download the jpeg files from this blog—and create your own magnets.

Small magnets can be printed individually on rectangles or ovals, or several images can be placed on one large rectangular car magnet and cut apart easily with scissors.

Sarah’s mom negotiated with the online magnet printer for a 15% discount if you use the following code: LYMEAWARE15. (Limited to one-time use per customer.)

Sarah, now 19, is in her second year of treatment and continues to fight for her health every day, Under the care of her LLMD, she says many of her symptoms have resolved. She reports that she can read again, enjoys writing her own music, and may start taking a couple of college courses.

Bravo, Sarah! I hope your health continues to improve and that these magnets will start popping up all over the country. I’ll be placing my order soon.

TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland,’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at

Click on the download button below the design you would like. Right click the image and select “Save image as” to save to your computer. Go to an online magnet printing company (or a local print shop that makes magnets) and upload the file with your order. When you receive the magnets, you just stick them on your car. Easy-peasy!

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