The Lyme Disease Association of Australia has thrown its support behind Maitland’s Kazz Tokek and urged employers to give her a go.
Vice president Jennifer Sherer said anyone who contracted the tick-borne illness had to draw on their courage, inner strength and determination to beat it.
She said these were great qualities to have in an employee and she felt for Ms Tokek, who has applied for more than 250 jobs in the past year, and still hasn’t got a job.
The 36-year-old contracted lyme disease after a series of tick bites in bushland in Queensland a decade ago. She has been too sick to work for four years and endured three years of intensive treatment for a second chance at life.
She has been in remission for 18 months and is trying to get her life back.
“Someone who has had lyme disease or a lyme like illness has faced an incredible challenge, it’s a nasty, nasty disease to have,” Ms Sherer said. “They have to fight for their diagnosis, then they have to fight for their treatment, and then they have to fight to return to their life.
“Someone who has had lyme disease and come through to the other side has displayed a determination that can widely benefit an employer.”
The association is pushing for the Senate inquiry into lyme disease to resume after it was closed when the federal government went into caretaker mode in May ahead of the July 2 election.
The fate of the inquiry is expected to be known in mid-September when the new Senate decides whether it will go ahead.
“We reached out to everyone who was running and when they were elected we reached out again,” Ms Sherer said. “It looks like we have valuable support behind us.”
Ms Sherer said Australia needs to acknowledge the disease exists.
“The reality is that with the right treatment this disease is easily fixed,” she said.
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