Co-Founder and Conference Co-Chairwoman
Through tragedy came triumph. Michele witnessed firsthand the debilitating effects of this disease when she lost her Mom, Jeanne Cloutier in 2013 from complications with late stage Lyme disease. Michele also discovered that her Mom had written about her symptoms and despair with the misdiagnosis of ALS then late stage Lyme disease, not understanding the controversy within the medical community. Michele with the support of her husband, Ken started the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. in 2014. Their mission is to raise awareness about this disease and/or other tick-borne diseases as well as educate others on prevention and advocating for their health. Michele and Ken hope that these conferences bring more awareness to the general public and to the medical community so that we all will receive proper testing and treatment in the future of this disease. Michele and Ken are grateful to their board members, their conference committee members, exhibitors, speakers, volunteers and all who made this conference possible. This wouldn’t have been accomplished without their love and support.
Co-Founder and Conference Co-Chairman
Ken is co-founder of the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. and co-chairman of the Central Mass Lyme Conference for the 3rd year. Ken and his wife, Michele formed the 501(c)(3) foundation in memory of Michele’s Mom, Jeanne Cloutier. Jeanne passed away in February, 2013 from complications from late stage Lyme disease. Ken and Michele hope this 3rd conference will bring even more awareness to not only the general public, but to the medical community in our state.
Board Member and Conference Committee-Sponsorship Chair
Mary Lorusso-DiBara is passionate about helping the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. with its mission and to work on this conference. She was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and the co-infection Bartonella four years ago. But even before she was diagnosed, Mary sought help for her younger sister Darlene who, like so many other Lyme patients, was misdiagnosed for years. Who could have imagined when she finally found a Lyme-literate doctor to help her sister that she, too, would contract Lyme several months later. And who could have imagined that eleven other family members ….brother, nieces, and nephews…would also be diagnosed over the past few years!
Board Member and Conference Committee-Exhibitor Chair
Cherie has not been personally affected by Lyme, but after working with Michele and Ken Miller, and learning of their family battle with the disease, she saw the great need for education and advocacy for Lyme sufferers. She has been a member of the board of directors since the organization was established as a non-profit, and served on the conference committee in 2016.
Conference Committee-Registration Chair
Stephen and his wife Colette started their journey with Lyme over 10 years ago with their daughter Alyson, who is now well. They didn’t have a group like this to benefit and learn from. If they had, they are certain that Alyson’s recovery would have happened a lot quicker. They joined the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. over 3 years ago to pay it forward and support this incredible resource by providing their information, stories, experiences and inspiration so that others don’t have to experience what they did. He and Colette have assisted in all 3 conferences and are happy to help the foundation in raising awareness and providing resources and support.
Darlene DiBara O’Connor
Conference Committee-Speaker Chair
In 2011 Darlene became very ill with flu-like symptoms that developed into pneumonia. In the year that followed, her health declined with unexplained manifestations that matched most of the symptoms on a checklist for Lyme disease. However, after 18+ medical practitioner visits, including episodes at the ED, and 20+ diagnostic procedures, she was continuously diagnosed with other conditions. The day after her mother’s funeral, she was shuttled down to Connecticut by her sister, Mary, and was finally diagnosed by a prominent physician with having Lyme disease and other related co-infections. Shortly after she was diagnosed, 12 more family members and counting would follow, including both of her teenage sons. Inspired by the crucial need for more Lyme literate health care professionals, she has switched from completing a graduate degree in education, to pursuing a career as a DNP.
Darlene remains grateful every day that she was led to the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. because it enables her to assist with Michele and Ken’s mission of educating and raising awareness about tick-borne diseases. Passionately contributing to the conference committee for the third consecutive year, Darlene shares the strong belief with all who are dedicated to this endeavor, that knowledge is power- and so the idea of this conference four years ago was born.
Conference Committee-Exhibitor Assistant Chair
I am honored to help the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. in 2017 accomplish their goals. Raising awareness and giving people a friendly community to learn about treatments and help them find support means a lot to me. On my 16th birthday, I woke up with bells palsy, which I later learned was brought on by lyme disease in which I did not know I had. Life has brought challenges due to it. So anything I can do to help others through their journey is important.
Conference Committee-Volunteer Chair
With over 20 years experience working in the healthcare field, Kim has developed a passion for helping others. Kim has witnessed what Lyme disease can do to someone, and our pets, first hand and wants to learn more about this disease and spread the word on prevention. Kim is always offering to lend a hand when someone is in need and is excited to support the Central Mass Lyme Foundation, Inc. in this role.
Conference Committee-Food Chair
As an outdoor enthusiast, Dao is very much aware the exposure and risk Lyme disease can cause. Concerned about Lyme disease and the long term effect it has on its victims and their family, Dao is looking to learn more and help make a difference. Whether it be through online community support, gathering donations, securing sponsorships or helping out with the Central Mass Lyme Conference, she is eager and willing to provide her time and lend a helping hand where and when needed.