Monday, February 18, 2013

In Memory of Jeremiah Katches

I haven't really been able to stop crying this morning. Which makes working through my to-do list a little more difficult, but some days are for grieving.

I did not know this man, but we were connected. Our stories were so similar in so many ways, and the thing that I keep thinking is that he could have easily been me. Without the help of my parents I would have never in a million years been able to afford or get the treatments that he so desperately needed. He had a family, children to care for, and I do not. Why is it that I am still here, and he was taken away? If for no other reason than to make sure I do not waste the life that he was denied, I want to live my life as "loudly", with as much purpose as possible. He and his family are in my thoughts and prayers today, and everyday.

I found this article on the website. To read the original posting, click HERE. Those of you who work outside on a daily ranchers, cowboys, farmers, fireman, etc, yourself a HUGE favor and save any ticks you find on yourself. I laughed at people who do this before I got Lyme, but now I know it can help save a life, or at the very least save you from a lot of pain and misery. Send the tick in to be tested so if it comes back Lyme positive, it'll be "easier" for you to convince a doctor to treat you for Lyme disease. If you ever have any questions about Lyme or getting help, please feel free to contact me at

RIP, Jeremiah Katches, from Auburn, CA, who passed away Friday after a long battle with Lyme disease.

I met Jeremiah Katches several years ago, at a showing of the Lyme documentary UNDER OUR SKIN. He was a sweet faced young man in a wheelchair. I was tending a Lyme disease information table in the back of the theater. Because my daughter had spent more than three years in a wheelchair due to Lyme disease, I felt a special affinity for him. We talked about treatment options.
I was sporadically aware of Jeremiah in the following years. Sometimes he participated in the CaliforniaLyme on-line support group. In 2011, he and his young family attended the Sacramento Lymewalk, which is where the accompanying photo was taken. Last summer, he was featured on the Inanna House website as the “Artist of the Month.” The website has his Lyme story in his own words and showcases many beautiful photographs he’s taken.
His story encompasses themes that are all too common for Lyme patients: He was bitten by ticks during military training. He developed a bull’s-eye rash. His rash and accompanying symptoms were dismissed by his doctors, and then he was dismissed from the military because he was too sick to carry on. He didn’t test positive on the standard Lyme tests because the tests are lousy. As he wrote on the Inanna website:
Eventually, a friend of mine who suffers from Lyme informed me how useless the normal blood test for Lyme disease actually is and said I should get tested through a different lab, one that offered a more accurate test. The test finally came back positive, and so for the last six years of my life I have been fighting Lyme.
Because of a medical establishment that follows the asinine Lyme treatment guidelines of Infectious Diseases Society of America, this young man—and countless other people—could not get diagnosed early after infection, when treatment would be most effective. And because the IDSA pretends that chronic Lyme disease doesn’t exist, and insurance companies are happy to go along with that fiction (why pay for treatment when there’s “nothing wrong”?) he couldn’t get properly tested or treated without paying out of pocket.  He further wrote on the Inanna website:
Unfortunately, due to the cost of treatment and the unwillingness of Insurance Companies to help cover it, I haven’t always been able to do everything my Doctor has wanted me to in order to get better. But, I do what I can.
Only last month, Jeremiah created a “GoFundMe” page, which asks friends and family to donate to a patient’s medical care.  As recently as 10 days ago, he posted this update:
I know that so many people are struggling financially right now. But I really really need all the help I can get for my treatment. So if anyone can donate anything to help me keep getting treated for my Lyme disease it would help me out more then you’ll ever know.
Yesterday afternoon, I received a message that Jeremiah Katches passed away Friday night. Word spread quickly through the on-line Lyme community. Even those without a personal connection to Jeremiah are stricken at the news. The Lyme community has lost another one of its own.
Jeremiah, we weep for you and your family and the whole rotten state of affairs that has brought us to this point. We vow to keep fighting in your memory.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland,’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at
xo xo Liz 


  1. My kids grew up with the Katches family and we are stunned that a young man who fought for our country dies from something he contracted doing so. Our family has very fond memories of Jimmy and will miss him dearly, I pray that others suffering from Lyme Disease get the help and recognition that they truly deserve! Peace be with you Jimmy!

    1. Caroline, thank you so much for taking the time out to comment on this! I didn't know Jimmy so it's amazing to hear from someone who did. I wish I could have told him thank you for serving our country. The thing about having Lyme is that our stories are all so similar so when one of us is lost or sick, we all feel it. Peace to Jimmy and love for his family!