Anyone who doubts the power of children to make a positive impact on the world, needs to look no further than Olivia Goodreau.
Bitten by a tick at age six, Olivia soon experienced body aches, brain fogs, headaches, tremors, and black outs. Olivia and her parents bounced around to more than 50 doctors over the next three years looking for answers, until finally she was properly diagnosed with having Lyme disease. So instead of enjoying the spring breaks and summer fun like other children her age, Olivia’s time was spent having a liver biopsy, spinal tap and hundreds of tests that she didn’t need had her infliction been properly diagnosed at the start. This was all from one tick bite that she never saw and never had a rash. And 53 doctors missed everything.
Deciding that she needed to do something so others would not share her own harrowing experience, in 2017 at age 12 Olivia started her own nonprofit called the LivLyme Foundation. Its mission is to raise money for individuals who cannot afford their Lyme medication or doctors’ visits and to fund research to find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. She has since awarded 54 grants to children and adults ages 2-21 along with four grants to top universities to fund tick-borne disease research. Olivia is also the inventor of TickTracker, the free global app that has over 50,000 users in multiple languages worldwide. TickTracker was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the “top tech tool” that is solving global health problems, beating out Oracle and IBM, among others.
With Lyme disease on the rise to record numbers throughout the country (with the potential to affect as many as 476,000 citizens before the year is out) Olivia has also become a strong advocate for early testing which is the key to successful treatment. She is a vocal advocate for the Sofia® 2 Lyme FIA by Quidel, a revolutionary test that provides patients and physicians with indicative results within 15 minutes, as opposed to days, which has historically been the norm (and during which time organisms can spread and become systemic). It can be performed in the privacy of a doctor’s office, local clinic or even by a nurse at a children’s summer camp; and it is the only test that can get results from a simple finger prick of blood.
Olivia’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. She has presented TickTracker at the White House and has met with countless members of Congress, celebrities, scientists and governmental agencies to educate and spread awareness about tick-borne diseases.
Most notably, Olivia helped Senator Susan Collins pass the 2019 Kay Hagan Tick Act that allocated $138 million for tick-borne diseases. She has hosted three annual LivLyme Summit events where top Lyme scientists, doctors and advocates from around the world spoke to sold out audiences and has interned at Stanford University, Duke University and University of Southern California’s tick-borne disease labs.
Now, still just 16 years old, Olivia hopes the LivLyme Foundation will positively impact those who suffer and that her TickTracker will help educate the public and keep people safe while creating a database for researchers working to find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
Visit https://livlymefoundation.org for more information.