People who inspire us

We recognize the many people who offer us strength, encouragement and hope. These special individuals are leaders within our community who inspire us daily. Let’s take a moment to honor their advocacy and inspiration.



"Dana is a rare and special soul.  She’s seemingly contradictory like some puzzle you’d find at a shop downtown: She’s so motivated, but appears chill; and she’s so warm but appears tough.  And of course it goes without saying that she’s an insanely talented and super smart author/health reporter/singer/songwriter.  The net sum is that we have someone who has the will and means to budge the needle in the way it needs to be budged and effect change in broad measure:  A formidable force for good.  Her relentlessness has been instrumental to a number of major changes going on in the field of Lyme, bartonella, and co-infections and I’m proud to call her a friend." Dr. Steven Phillips

It's difficult to distill down to a few sentences the admiration that I have for Dana. She's not only a brilliant singer/songwriter but also someone who was able to channel her personal Lyme disease and Bartonella story into action, to help those struggling with these horrendous diseases. Through her insightful writing and blogging, she has educated others and galvanized the Lyme community. Always there to lend a helping hand, Dana has personally impacted the lives of those she has directly touched. It turns out she's also quite the scientist, helping us develop more effective, safer and smarter therapies for tick borne diseases.  She's a disrupter in a very good way, not satisfied with the status quo. She is all about solving problems not complaining about them. I love Dana and cherish her friendship because above all, she has a heart of gold and tons of empathy for those suffering from the consequences of these horrendous diseases. I'm sure her parents would agree with me when I call her a true mensch! - Dr. Neil Spector



 Nicole is the First Female USAF Thunderbirds Fighter Pilot, an elite group of air force pilots and although her career was cut short due to Tick-Borne Illness (TBI), she has become a prominent figure within the Lyme community, speaking on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people suffering for Lyme and TBI. She is now serving on the Department of Health Human Services Tick Borne Diseases Working Group on Access to Care Services and Support to Patients. She has overcome adversity with Tenacity and Grit and has shown us all the true meaning of perseverance. This disease has knocked her down but she always gets back up. She's still a fighter and now piloting and powering through for others to show there is a path to getting  better and to keep looking up to the sky! - Brandi Dean and Carla Nugent



“I nominate Nancy for her compassion and grace in learning about TIck-Borne Illness, assisting Dr. Aucott with educating, fundraising and research, and for going to Washington to advocate for those who are suffering. She was a parent who always asked me about how my daughter was doing (while she was sick with Lyme) as far back as 6th grade when other parents just thought I was nuts and my daughter was weird.”- Susan Nichter

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                Dr NEVENA


“I nominate Dr. Nevena Zubcevik in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about Lyme Disease.In addition to providing excellent care and unending compassion, Dr. Zubcevik strives to utilize every available venue in her efforts to raise awareness about Lyme and the devastating effects the disease has had on her patients. Thank you Dr. Zubcevik for saving so many lives(including mine)!” -Julie Ambrosino

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           CARRIE PERRY

Carrie’s daughter was diagnosed with Lyme. She researched and fought to get her daughter’s life back and now is one of the biggest Lyme noise makers in America. She is about to host her second Tick Talk event held in PA, held a Wine with a Touch of Lyme last Fall, and works tirelessly to inform people about Lyme through television news and social media. On a personal note, she has been the best cheerleader, Lyme fighting encourager and friend to this then newly diagnosed stranger who reached out to her through Facebook over a year ago. Thank you, Carrie for your generous heart and tenacity to help those of us with Lyme.” - Holly Zelinsky


                       Dr NEIL                     SPECTOR

“Dr. Neil Spector is an inspiration and a larger then life figure for me. His dedication to promoting awareness and education for Tick Borne Illness is unprecedented. He has helped so many personally by supporting them and serving as a mentor, and even more as an example of an extraordinary individual who has overcome this disease in the scariest possible way, by requiring a heart transplant due to undiagnosed Tick Borne Illness (TBI). He has now tackled research in the area of TBI, looking for a cure. On the days when I feel that the task I have at hand is too big to handle, I think of Dr. Spector and get re-energized all over again to roll up my sleeves and to fight for the right cause. Thank you Neil for being the guiding light for me and many other patients and physicians alike.” - Dr. Nevena Zubcevik

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                 Dr STEVEN                       PHILLIPS

“Steve is a doctor's doctor, a patient's dream, a wildly out-of-the-box-thinker, wounded healer, keen observer, surprisingly hilarious, original, artistic, humble genius who never stops fighting for his patients and speaking truth to power. Many of us lucky enough to know Steve, or to have trusted him in our darkest hour, are bonded in our appreciation of his steadfastness, goodness, and gentle prodding to the finish line. 

On a personal note, he is one of the most influential, beloved people in my life. There was life “Before Steve”, whose acronym is fitting ;) and life after. I could never have imagined the reverberations of our two worlds colliding.” - Dana Parish



“I nominate Chloe for the amount of pain she has endured and persevered through since adolescence. I don’t know if I could have remained optimistic and as persistent as she has. I think many would have given up. The knowledge base she has from her life experience is astounding. She also takes many phone calls, answers through social media and emails all the time in trying to help people who don’t know which way to turn.” - Chloe’s Mother



“INSPIRE ~ Definition: Creative, Original, Genius, Funny, Encourage, To Breathe….Patrik you are my son, but you are so much more, you’ve been the SUN and MOON and All the STARS in between.  You embody the meaning of Inspiration with how you handle daily life with a smile and sense of humor, while enduring the endless medical treatments and facing the unknown with such courage.You took my breath away at first sight at birth, and today, you still do as I look at you turning 14 years old and becoming the incredible young man you are.  You are wise beyond your years. I love you beyond, Mom. xo”



“I nominate Julie for her tenacious recovery from tick-borne illness and her leadership in Lyme Innovation 2017.  Her attention to detail and hard work has not only helped her regain her own health but has also educated others and helped bring diverse stakeholders together to problem-solve solutions to the Lyme disease crisis.” -Nancy Dougherty



“I'd be honored to nominate Olivia Goodreau of the LivLyme Foundation. This young powerhouse knows what it means to start a movement from the grassroots level. She has been selfless and courageous in openly sharing her story and has "walked the walk" in raising funds to help other kids who are suffering. I'm so darn proud to be her Wingman...I'd follow her anywhere.” - Ret. Colonel Nicole Malachowski



“I nominate Christine Grace as the person who inspires me. Christine is the Reiki volunteer at the Dean Center, and she always has incredible insights and wisdom to share, in addition to a positive, hopeful, and upbeat spirit. Christine has helped so many people, including myself, discover the power of the mind/body connection and spirituality in healing from chronic illness. I am so grateful to have Christine as a colleague and friend and am so inspired by the work she does for this community!” - Kerry Lang



"I choose Kerry Lang ( Mental Health Counselor at the Dean Center) because of her compassion for the many people living with this disease and her efforts in creating a safe and creative environment for people to share their experiences and support each other. She developed a Coping Skills Class where patients can learn ways to cope with the challenges of tick-borne illness. She has also introduced patients to holistic and complimentary therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, reiki, sound healing, art therapy, writing workshops and more. She is truly a gem with a great, big heart and well-loved by so many of us. Thank you for shining a bright light into our lives." -Brandi Dean


                Dr KRISTEN                         HONEY

 “She is the co-founder of the Lyme Innovation Hackathon, has worked selflessly at the highest levels of government at the White House for Open Data and transparency in healthcare, and she is now Co-Director of the HHS Tick borne Diseases Working group....all as a Lyme survivor.” - Ret. Colonel Nicole Malachowski

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           Dr KATHERINE


“Dr. Lantsman has a holistic approach to medicine, and understands that each patient has their set of physiological components. She is inspiring because she offers a level of genuine compassion about how her patients are doing which is not always seen in today’s healthcare system” - Allen Bargfrede