Westport Race Nets $200K For Tick-Borne Disease Alliance

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Runners take off in the 5k at the "Bite Back for a Cure" run/walk Sunday in Westport. The race raised money for the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance.
Runners take off in the 5k at the "Bite Back for a Cure" run/walk Sunday in Westport. The race raised money for the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance. Photo Credit: Contributed
Men's 5k winner Dave McCuiston runs during the race.
Men's 5k winner Dave McCuiston runs during the race. Photo Credit: Contributed
Katherine Grijns of Westport won the women's 5k.
Katherine Grijns of Westport won the women's 5k. Photo Credit: Contributed
Ed Finnigan won the men's 10k.
Ed Finnigan won the men's 10k. Photo Credit: Contributed
Claire Campbell won the women's 10k.
Claire Campbell won the women's 10k. Photo Credit: Contributed
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe talks to the audience.
Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe talks to the audience. Photo Credit: Contributed
Senator Dick Blumenthal speaks at the race.
Senator Dick Blumenthal speaks at the race. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn.  - The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance announced it will invest over $20,000 into Lyme disease research thanks to the success of last week's “Bite Back for a Cure” Walk/Run in Westport.

The event is now in its sixth year and has raised more than $155,000 to combat the debilitating disease over the years. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who is co-sponsoring the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education and Research Act in the Senate, was among those in attendance to show his support for TBDA and underscore his efforts to allocate additional federal funding for Lyme disease research.

Blumenthal and Jim Marpe, First Selectman of Westport, visited the event. Marpe officially proclaimed Sunday, April 6, as "Bite Back for a Cure" day in the town of Westport.

"Lyme disease is very personal in my family," Marpe said. "My daughter was diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was a freshman in college, and abruptly had to quit her passion of ballet dancing because of the debilitating effects of Lyme disease. It took over a year of numerous doctors' appointments to finally get my daughter diagnosed, which was a sigh of relief for our family.

"Fortunately for my daughter, she is now in remission and living a full life. However, I know many others who have suffered the challenges and problems that come with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, and I am so grateful that all of you are here today to help raise money and awareness for this very important cause."

Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing diseases in the United States. By 2020, it’s expected there will be more than 600,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year. One in five of these patients will likely suffer with long-term chronic symptoms.

In response to these staggering statistics, the money raised from the sixth annual “Bite Back for a Cure” Charity Walk/Run will help improve diagnostic testing by investing in a bio-bank, which will help scientists and researchers develop a more thorough analytical diagnostic tool. 

Ed Finnigan of Fairfield and Claire Campbell of New Canaan each took home the first place spot in the 10K course, with Finnigan finishing at 38:12 and Campbell finishing with a time of 47:41

David McCuiston of New York City and Katherine Grijns of Westport each took home first place in the 5K run, with times of 19:05 and 24:25, respectively.

To see complete race results, visit www.clubct.org.

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