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Teen Suffering From Lyme Disease Raising Awareness, Money For Treatment

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Reported: Jun. 25, 2014 12:52 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 25, 2014 1:13 PM EDT
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Lyme Disease
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Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

A Kanawha County mother is fighting for the health of her son.

Five years ago, Caleb Norman was bitten by a deer tick. He now suffers from Lyme disease and his mother, Tonya, is trying to get her son the help he needs.

When he got sick in 2009, doctors didn’t know what was happening. He was treated at several different hospitals for several different things until doctors finally made the diagnosis, Lyme disease.

This disease, left untreated, causes memory loss, severe pain, insomnia, thyroid problems, many of the symptoms he is going through.

Now, as Tonya Norman pushes to get her son into treatment in Florida, they also are raising awareness about this disease.

"Everyday pain, sleeping a lot and depression, thinking back on life wondering where it all went wrong and how such a tiny little thing could have such a big effect on my life," Caleb Norman said.

That is how the 18 year old describes what it’s like every day living with Lyme disease. That tiny little thing he was referring to was a deer tick. He was mowing the grass with his father when a deer tick bit him on his ankle. Hours later, he noticed a bulls-eye rash, followed by flu-like symptoms. In the following weeks, his health started to deteriorate. He became so sick that he had to leave school in the 10th grade. Doctors finally diagnosed him with Lyme disease.

"Losing your health is the hardest thing and it's almost like you have nothing you can do other than sit and wait for a doctor to come and help you," he said.

"It's very heartbreaking,” his mother said. “We had a boy that played basketball and ran and slowly all of that's been taken away."

Tonya Norman said little is known about the disease and that is why it took so long to diagnose it in her son. With research, she found a treatment center in Florida that specializes in Lyme disease and has had a 90 percent success rate in 10,000 patients. Caleb Norman is slated to start treatment in July, but it costs about $3,000 a week without insurance. His mother said it’s key to getting her son better because the disease can be deadly.

"It's just heartbreaking that his future is kind of very bleak,” she said.

Caleb said this treatment would be life changing. So he and his mother are raising awareness about the disease and hopefully some money, while also raising his spirits that he will get better.

"Keep up the good fight if any Lyme patients are listening," he said.

The Normans said they have raised about $500 to get Caleb into that treatment center. They are holding a hot dog sale from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Kmart in St. Albans They said if they can’t raise about $20,000 for his stay and treatment, they will have to push back the time he’s supposed to go. His mother said immediate treatment is key, so they are hoping to raise enough money in time.

The Normans also have set up a fund at City National Bank, in the name of Caleb Norman.



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