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August 19, 2019

abigail bostwick/lakeland times

Artist Roger Maxwell speaks at “An Evening at a Country Ranch” celebration Sunday evening, Aug. 4. The event celebrated the initial opening stages of the Tick Borne Center of Excellence. Maxwell donated handcarved birds for the live auction.
abigail bostwick/lakeland times

Artist Roger Maxwell speaks at “An Evening at a Country Ranch” celebration Sunday evening, Aug. 4. The event celebrated the initial opening stages of the Tick Borne Center of Excellence. Maxwell donated handcarved birds for the live auction.
8/10/2019 7:30:00 AM
Supporters gather to raise awareness of tick-borne illness center to be built in Woodruff
Abigail Bostwick
Of The Lakeland Times

Last Sunday evening, community members gathered to support the Tick Borne Center of Excellence - the first of its kind in the Midwest.

"An Evening at a Country Ranch" celebrated the initial stages of the center's history -it will be located at Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff - along with a silent auction of carved birds from artist Roger Maxwell.

The vision of the Tick Borne Center of Excellence is to effectively diagnose and treat patients who have not had effective medical care or even a dedicated medical resource to go to, noted Carrie Nichols Hoye, Howard Young Foundation executive committee member at large, marketing committee chair and board member.

"A tick-borne center is the answer," Hoye said. "This cutting edge research, diagnoses, research and sharing of information will help many. Not just here at home, but across the country."

There is no reliable screening, diagnosis or even treatment for tick-borne diseases at this time. Centers such as the one to be based in Woodruff are working to change that, Hoye indicated.

Currently, the closest center to Wisconsin is 1,200 miles away. That is all about to change, it was noted at the fundraiser.

On board for the local center already are prominent tick-borne illness specialists including Dr. Brian Fallon from Columbia University and Dr. Neil Spector from Duke University. Dr. Joseph Burrascano is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of Lyme with publications in the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. Dr. John Aucott of Johns Hopkins and Dr. Andy Kogelnik, Open Medicine Institute (OMI) are also onboard.

OMI is the California center which has partnered locally to work collaboratively with patients and refer to physicians and regional specialists.

The Howard Young Foundation has already raised a large portion of their campaign goal to support the opening of the center through community and organization donations alone. Their goal is $3.5 million.

If raised, OMI will match it with a $3.5 million donation. This $7 million will cover start-up and the several first years, Hoye said.

"Your donations will help in the treatment, presentation and hopefully, one day, a cure for tick-borne illnesses," Hoye observed.

Lyme is the fastest growing vector (insect) borne illness, and still highly undetected in many patients, Hoye pointed out. Ticks can transmit several dangerous diseases, all difficult to treat.

"The need is because so many people are walking around ill," Hoye said. "There is a dramatic need in our community and in the U.S. ... what we want to do is have a clinic in Wisconsin that diagnoses and treats people ... where patients can participate in research and connect with other clinics ... we're very excited about this."

A recent volunteer blood draw in the Minocqua area resulted in about 300 people giving four vials of blood each - all curious if their strange and thus-far unrelieved illnesses and symptoms may be tick-related. Hoye said of that number, 25 percent had some form of tick-borne illness.

Naming rights to the clinic are still available through donation, it was noted.

Acknowledged for their special support in the effort were Jeff and Jillayne Waite,who lost their daughter, Jennifer Kane, to lyme and babesia, both tick-borne illnesses.

Also at the fundraiser, Arizona artist and local vacationer - and philanthrope of the Neurological Institute of Phoenix - Roger Maxwell donated some 11 hand-carved birds for a live auction.

All proceeds were to benefit the center.

To find out more, or to help the campaign, visit

Further, the Open Medicine Institute is still in the process of putting together their team of excellence. Anyone interested in employment as a physician or registered nurse can send their information and specific references to or call 715-203-1616.

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