Cath's journey

My dear friend Cath is facing a debilitating illness. She continues to maintain a positive attitude despite her circumstances and desperately wants to recover, but she knows that she can no longer do that on her own.

She's been fighting late-stage neurological Lyme disease since March 2016, and now she is facing homelessness.  She's wiped out her savings and retirement on living costs and out-of-pocket medical expenses, and now she has nowhere else to turn. 

1) In the summer of 2014, after a hike in Fort Collins, Cath noticed a strange bull's-eye rash on her hand. Shortly thereafter, she developed a “weird summer flu,” soon accompanied by terrible joint pain that doctors diagnosed as "tennis elbow."

She traveled to South America and came back very sick, but doctors brushed it off as exposure to bad water and a breakneck work schedule. All of this turned out to be, in fact, the undiagnosed acute stage of Lyme disease. The fatigue increased until she realized she was doing nothing more than working and sleeping, constantly hounded by fierce migraines, vertigo, and nausea.

In the fall of 2015, her cognition took a sudden, terrifying dive. She began frequently losing words and thoughts, she struggled to solve even the simplest problems at work and at home, and her IQ dropped by more than 30 points. Finally, a naturopathic doctor suggested she see a Lyme specialist, who officially diagnosed her with late-stage neurological Lyme in January of 2016.

2) Lyme Disease is a subtle and sinister disease. If it’s not caught early enough, it often spreads rapidly to other parts of the body. It can affect the heart, liver, eyes, muscles and joints, and – most frightening – the brain and nervous system.

Each case of Lyme is different, but Cath’s symptoms include severe fatigue, muscle and joint pains, headaches, light and sound sensitivity, as well as sharp stabbing pains all over her body, sometimes replaced with numbness and tingling. 

Worst of all, Cath feels as though her mind has been slipping away. She’s lost nearly all of her mental resourcefulness, she flounders to articulate and often even form thoughts, and her short-term memory has all but evaporated. Every day, this frustrating and frightening loss threatens to steal my friend’s identity, and it breaks my heart to see this disease cloud her bright, compassionate, and creative mind.

3) By March 2016, Cath’s cognitive abilities had declined so drastically that she was no longer able to function at work. She took a leave of absence, confidently optimistic that she would be finished with treatment and back to her life in 12 weeks or less. Her journey from this point forward quickly took a tragic turn for the worse.

Her employer's disability program – which was supposed to replace her income while on leave – denied her claim.  Despite overwhelming medical evidence, they’ve simply stated they don’t believe her doctors and refuse to pay.

Desperate to keep a roof over her head and cover more than $10,000 in medical testing and failed treatments, Cath liquidated her retirement and savings accounts and sold all of her furniture.

4) During that time, the disease progressed.  The inflammation in her brain increased to the point that she could no longer tolerate light, noise, or conversation. She even developed a sensitivity to clothing, limiting her wardrobe to only a couple tolerable items.

The fatigue, muscle weakness, and joint and nerve pain left her with only a couple good hours a day in which to feed herself and handle some basic chores. Brain fog, confusion, and the excruciating vibrations of talking make it difficult to communicate with others. The daily activities we take for granted such as social time with friends and family, going on outings, and having hobbies have vanished or become extremely limited because of her complex sensitivities and low tolerance for environmental stimulus.

A recent MRI showed lesions on her brain, significant swelling in her cervical column, and significant swelling in some areas of her brain and reduced volume in others. 

She’s now been additionally diagnosed with CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) and she started IVIG treatment in December 2016 that will last another seven months.  While IVIG is not meant to treat Lyme specifically, her doctor is hopeful this will relieve enough of her neurological symptoms that she will be able to return to a normal life and then follow up on other Lyme-specific treatments later.

5) Today, Cath is facing the reality that she has exhausted all of her financial resources. She is less than a month away from losing her home. She is unable to pay for her basic needs and her disease is far from cured. She needs our help and support – both moral and financial – if she ever hopes to recover from her illness. Cath’s doctors believe she will recover with this new treatment, but becoming homeless will make that much, much harder to do.

 This page truly is her last hope. If she can focus on her treatment and recovery during the next seven months, we are extremely optimistic that she will make a full recovery.

In order to avoid homelessness and take care of basic needs during her treatment, Cath needs to raise $12,000. We have contacted and exhausted every government resource and charitable organization in her area. She has always been a proud and staunchly self-sufficient woman, but this terrible disease has left her with no other option but to ask her friends, family, and even caring strangers for help.

The money raised will be used to cover the following expenses: 

-       Rent

-       Utilities

-       Car insurance

-       Personal toiletries and household supplies

-       Supplemental care not covered by insurance, like acupuncture and chiropractic treatment for pain management – (Since her body rejects most pharmaceuticals, she is left with very few options for handling her daily pain.)

-       Specialty food replacement (special protein powders, etc.) – (Cath has genetic mutations that prevent her body from processing most common healthy foods and all processed foods without causing severe inflammation that hinders her treatment.)

 We sincerely and desperately ask for your assistance. Please help in any way you can – shares, prayers, and donations of any size are greatly appreciated, and not a penny will go to waste.

 Your help is invaluable beyond words. Every time someone shares her story, makes a donation, or says a prayer for help and health, a difference is made and blessings abound. Our deepest thank you goes out to everyone who reads this page and keeps Cath in their heart.

 If you would like to learn more about Lyme, the devastation it causes, and the steps that can be taken to combat it, please take a moment to visit some of the links below:

General Info on Lyme Disease

Personal Experiences and Resources

Lyme & Reason – Interview with Dr. Steven Phillips

 All About CIDP

 About IVIG
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 40 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 41 mos
  • Sarah Erickson-Muschko 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Elizabeth Snow 
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
  • Juliann Schwartz  
    • $25 
    • 46 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Rachel Bauer 
Greeley, CO
Catherine Boerder 
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