After months away from the limelight, Avril Lavigne recently opened up about her debilitating battle with Lyme disease. Her shocking revelation had everyone talking about the little-known illness, with fans wanting to learn more about the surprisingly common yet deeply misunderstood ailment.
Despite the resources at her disposal, it took the Canadian singer several months to get a correct diagnosis, as doctors couldn't pinpoint exactly what was wrong with her. According to Maclean’s, this is an all-too-common experience with Lyme, which is contracted through a tick bite.
Avril is bringing awareness to Lyme disease after revealing her diagnosis. Photo © Getty
“I didn’t even know [Avril] was sick,” commented Dr. Oz in an episode of The Dr. Oz Show this week, which discussed the topic of Lyme and how it’s on the rise.
“Everyone’s talking about this now because Lyme disease is on the rise and in a big way,” he said, adding, “the CDC has increased their estimate of annual cases 10-fold.”
After the episode aired, Dr. Oz took to Twitter to encourage fans to take the “ #LymeDiseaseChallenge.” Similar to last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge craze, which helped raise money and awareness for ALS, fans were asked to upload a video of themselves taking a bite out of a citrus lime. They were then supposed to upload the video to social media and nominate three friends to do the same, while also including a fact about Lyme disease.
Avril, 30, was deeply moved by the show and promptly retweeted his #LymeDiseaseChallenge initiative.
— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) April 9, 2015
Getting diagnosed and treated for Lyme can be an “arduous journey," as Canadian medical students “are taught about tropical infections such as malaria, yet bacteria in their own backyard are ignored.”
With an A-list celebrity at the helm of the conversation, one can hope that Lyme awareness will increase and the disease will be better understood in the near future.
"I feel like I have a responsibility — I can't just sit [and do] nothing," Avril told People. "I need to talk about Lyme disease, because it's real, it's out there, it was a simple bug bite and it could happen to anybody. People need to know about it, because it's not talked about that much and a lot of the information that's out there is inaccurate."