The Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF) is the premier nonprofit dedicated to finding solutions for tick-borne disorders. Realizing the ability to find solutions involves a multi-discipline effort, the LDF includes the four cornerstones of progress (businesses, patients, government, and the medical community) to work together to find solutions to tick-borne disorders. The LDF is the only tick-related charity to meet federal standards to qualify as national nonprofit and has strong ties to the international scientific community. The LDF has an active media outreach, education (medical and public) and research programs. The headquarters is staffed by a team of full-time professionals, has a modest library of articles, is highly computerized, and has a database of about 100,000 tick-borne disease aware households. 87% of every donation goes directly to programs, with 13% supporting those programs. The LDF was cofounded in 1988 by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner, MBA, CPCU, CLU and Thomas E. Forschner, MBA, CPA at the request of researchers seeking a scientific forum where they could present a wide range of research results, conduct vigorous debate, nurture friendships, and foster new collaborations. They believed Lyme disease was serious and pervasive enough to need its own staffed nonprofit. This diverse and dedicated team of board members trailblazed into a world unaware of this disease, raising awareness from 0% to 88% within 2 years. The Forschner's were seeking help for Jamie their son, who was born with and suffered from Lyme disease. Although Jamie died in 1991 during a relapse, this team continues on in the hope that others will be spared from suffering similar anguish. Tick-borne disorders include: babesiosis, cat scratch disease (Bartonella), ehrlichiosis, Colorado tick fever, Lyme disease, Masters' disease, Query fever (potential biowarfare agent), Powassan encephalitis, relapsing fever (potential biowarfare agent), Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick paralysis, & tularemia (potential biowarfare agent). (Summary of the LDF's Accomplishments)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS (Board of Directors of the LDF Scientific Advisors (Current and Past) to the LDF)The distinguished Board includes the discoverer of the Lyme bacterium, a retired Congressman, business executives, physicians, researchers, patients, and public health officials. The LDF board meets quarterly to review and provide input into all LDF programs and activities.

The New Jersey and Midwest Task Forces conduct public and professional education programs, have input into public policy programs, and partner with public health officials. Each leader is active in their state's government tick-borne disease programs. Roberta Bethencourt, MSW, the NJ leader, is a social worker and is on the NJ Governor's LD Task Force. Renee Thaler, the Midwest leader, is a political consultant, works in partnership with the Illinois Department of Health, and has been successful in enacting LD legislation in Illinois. In 2002 the LD Community Caucus was established with these members, along with the Lyme Disease Society and Michigan Lyme Disease Association. This new group of people work together to present one unified voice to government officials on tick-borne issues.

The LDF has won awards for its educational activities as well as its Television Specials (Lifetime TV Network, Public Broadcasting System) as well as its website. (click here to see our awards)

    Conferences - Medically-Accredited Twenty scientific conferences (17 International Conferences) have been conducted, as well as a special satellite program that was transmitted throughout the Western Hemisphere. These global programs unite physicians and researchers in various disciplines to discuss the latest research and clinical developments. This education results in more effective medical care and fosters the forging of new collaborations. Web postings of conference summaries have been read by about 50,000 users (60% healthcare professionals) and have awarded continuing medical education credits to over 1,000 additional physicians. (click here for Scientific Education)

    Journal of Spirochetal and Tick-Borne Diseases (JSTD) is the first peer-reviewed scientific publication dedicated to tick-borne and spirochetal disorders. The JSTD is sent to medical libraries and health departments across the county.
    Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases chronic LD supplement (Infectious Disease Society of America) was supported by the LDF and featured presentations from the LDF's International Conference.

Research programs have funded over $500,000 in research, resulting in over 30 scientific publications, facilitating two patents and one technology transfer (an improved test) from the federal government to private industry. James Miller, PhD oversees the two-tier research program in order to ensure the credibility of the proposed research and the progress of the grants through publication. (click here for the Research section)





The LDF has an active Public Policy program that educates legislators and government officials about the status of tick-borne disorders research, issues facing healthcare providers, and the plight of patients.
The LDF:
Testifies at Federal and State Hearings
Drafts and Supports Federal & State Legislation
Conducts Congressional Briefings educating members.
Conducts Lyme Disease Awareness Month Congressional Press Conferences
Organizes Lyme Disease Awareness Month March on Washington rallies to "Wake-up Washington!"
Drafts and Supports Federal & State Resolutions
Conducts the National Children's Lyme Disease Poster Campaign with selected posters displayed during Lyme Disease Awareness Month, reminding elected officials that tick-borne disorders affect us all.


The LDF is frequently solicited for interviews on a wide variety of tick-borne issues - from scientific advancements, to legislative opinions, and disease descriptions. Media programs include press releases, B-roll, scientific updates, interview referrals, and photos. The LDF has TV, radio, and print public services announcements that have aired across the country. Hosts are parents, researchers, puppets, Emilio Delgado "Luis" of Sesame Street, as well as rock-legend Billy Joel.
Appearances include:
20/20 - Nightline - Oprah - MTV's Real World - Univision - TV Tokyo - Today Show - ABC/NBC/CBS News - CNN - Geraldo - TIME - Modern Maturity - Newsweek - NY Times - Essense - Wall Street Journal - Parents - RN Magazine - U.S. Pharmacist - Consumer Reports - Outdoor Life - Golf Digest - Washington Post - Ebony

The LDF has a very active education program consisting of over one hundred programs per year, from 20-mintute "lunch and learns", to 3-hour evening community presentations, to multi-day health fairs. The 1999 March-to-Victory education presentations visited over 20 cities across the US, educating thousands of people and medical professionals about tick-borne disorders. The extensive scientific, public, school, and workplace educational materials include tabletop displays, brochures, posters, videos, wallet cards, scientific packets, and much more. The LDF distributes thousands of brochures to schools, libraries, health departments, parks, scouts, and other groups every year.

The LDF website receives about 300,000 hits a month from nearly 100 countries and contains a wealth of information & photos about ticks, diseases they spread, and prevention techniques. This site is one of the top websites recommended by the Hartford Courant and is a referral site for numerous government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, as well as the Food & Drug Administration. It is Medinex and Study-Web certified as a credible source of healthcare information.

A wide variety of people volunteer their time and expertise to the LDF, including conference speakers, scientific advisors, JSTD reviewers, self-help group leaders, community educators, and a webmaster. The LDF assists registered support/self-help groups across the country with consultation and training programs. Patients and their families are referred to groups in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.





    The LDF has experience with a full range of fundraising programs including: donation of equipment and services (cars for auction, furniture, web expertise, photography); conducting events (telethons, walk-athons, concerts, auctions, golf tournaments, singles nights, rummage sales, bake sales); sale of LDF-developed material; sales at other companies (e.g., SNET); donations in honor or memory of individuals; donation cannisters; government grant programs; workplace donations; partnerships with corporations; and direct mailings to the LDF's 100,000+ name database.

    The LDF Alliance Education and Research Partners includes Fortune 500 companies to small proprietors & health agencies. Participants include:
     Ace Hardware  BBI Clinical Laboratories
     Ct. Agricultural Experiment Station  CVS Pharmacies
     Family Circle Magazine  FrontierNet
     Glaxo Pharmaceutical  GreenLight Sales Company
     Home Depot  Igenex Laboratory
     Illinois Department of Health  L'Oreal
     Medical Diagnostic Laboratories  Payless*Cashways
     Rotary  SmithKline Beecham
     Speciality Labs  Texas Department of Health
     Wal*Mart  Wampole Laboratories
    Examples: In partnership with the Connecticut Rotary and the local health department, the LDF mailed 80,000 LDF brochures and tick-cards to residents of Greenwich, CT. Working with CVS Pharmacies the LDF distributed thousands of brochures and tick-cards throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. During different years L'Oreal and Hartz Mountain funded national TV and print educational ads. Greenlight distributed brochures throughout the country.

    Every year we help tens of thousands of people looking for physicians or support groups, as well as clinicians or scientists looking for research collaborators or funding.

Combined Federal Campaign - LDF is the only tick-borne charity that meets federal standards to be considered a national organization. Community Health Charities - LDF is a full member of the Community Health Charities since '97 and an associate member since '91. United Way - LDF participates in United Way programs around the country.

Some of the programs include:
 AL - United Way of Central Alabama  CA - United Way of the Bay Area
 CA - United Way of San Diego  CT - Valley United Way (Ansonia)
 CT - U.Way of Eastern Fairfield County  CT - United Way of Branford
 CT - United Way of Norwalk & Wilton  CO - Mile High United Way
 DE - United Way of Deleware  FL - Pinellas County
 MD - United Way of Central Maryland  ME - United Way of Eastern Maine
 MI - United Way of Michigan  NJ - United Way of Atlantic County
 NJ - United Way of Bergen County  NJ - United Way of Burlington City
 NJ - United Way of Ocean County  NY - UW of Chemung & Stueben Counties
 NY - United Way of Dutchess Cty  NY - United Way of Northeastern NY
 NY - United Way of Orange County  NY - United Way of the Tri State
 NY - United Way of the Southern Tier  OR - United Way of Umatilla County
 PA - United Way of Alleghaney County  PA - United Way of Butler County
 PA - United Way of Chester County  PA - United Way of Erie County
 PA - United Way of Southeastern PA  PA - United Way of Southwestern PA
 WI - United Way of Fox Cities  

 Web Master Dr. Leonard Schuchman


This site is © Copyright Lyme Disease Foundation 2004-2012, All Rights Reserved.
Free website templates




About the LDF
Scientific Education
Community Education
Childrens Corner
Picture Gallery
Faces of Lyme Disease