Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tribute to a Fallen Lyme Warrior: Jeremiah K

Tragic news about Jeremiah Katches, a Lyme patient who passed away a few days ago. This tribute to his life and their relationship with him by Mara Williams and her daughter Sara Donnelly, who I have been working with on Inanna House. The contents below are viewable with pictures at: Mara's daughter has late-stage Lyme and Mara and Sara are fierce Lyme Disease advocates.

From Mara Williams

Jeremiah Katches died Friday February 15, 2013. I know that he was suffering greatly, and in intense pain. I am so saddened by his passing. His art speaks to the man he was- creative, loving, strong, and kind. He got Lyme while in the military. He fought for the United States and then his country let him down by denying his illness.

Too many are suffering for years and then dying. How can a soul prevail when one continues to suffer and not move forward? How can someone recover when they have limited resources? Treating Lyme is expensive and all consuming, sometimes for years. Spiritually, I believe no one agreed to take on these infections but because of other agreements were vulnerable to being overwhelmed by infection.

Jeremiah had a deep faith that helped to give him hope. He was a fighter. And, now he is gone from this world. Let his passing be a galvanizing point of light for the rest of the Lyme community, that along with all the others who have not made it, leads us to become one, united to build a place where healing can happen for anyone, including those with no ability to pay.

If every person with Lyme, and every one of their family members and friends, were to donate just five or ten dollars, we would have enough to build at least two Inanna Houses. I have no agenda saying this other than to make you think. If Inanna House had been a reality, Jeremiah might have made it. I pray that not another person dies due to Lyme disease. May the power of community make it so.

Thank you and Blessings, Mara

My daughter Sara, who has mostly remained behind the scenes in the creation of Inanna House, chose to write something about Jeremiah. They became friends after working together on his Lyme Artist of The Month page. She speaks from her heart, saddened by our loss, as so many others are...

From Sara...

My name is Sara Donnelly, I am 34 years old and I suffer from Chronic Lyme Disease. I suffer because my fellow human beings are suffering. I suffer because my sister suffers. I suffer because my friend Jeremiah was suffering, and is now gone from this world.

My suffering does not come from the physical pain that so many Lyme patients have, because in fact, I have never been bitten by a tick. My suffering does not come from the insomnia, vomiting, fevers, and shakes that so many Lyme patients deal with daily, because in fact, I don't have the actual Lyme infection.

My suffering comes from a place of knowing that if one suffers, we all suffer. My suffering comes from a place of knowing that there can never be right, if so many are wronged.

I got involved with Inanna House as a way to help my mother. Inanna House was her vision, her dream. It was through communications everyday with people needing help, no where to go, no money for treatment, frustrated, overwhelmed, alone, that I saw it was way more than that. I started to "get it". This is a huge issue, enormous. It is not only isolated to my sister, or a few people here or there claiming a mysterious disease that no one seems to know about. This is a debilitating, painful disease, that in fact, is killing people.

I came up with the idea for the Inanna House Lyme Artist of The Month shortly after Jeremiah reached out to me on Twitter. He had heard about Inanna House and wanted to help, he wanted to do something for the Lyme community. That was the kind of person he was, even though he was suffering so much with his own illness, he still wanted to help others and build awareness. It was from seeing his passion and love for photography that I realized it was through art that he, and so many others, cope with the hardships of Lyme. I asked him to be our first artist. He was so ecstatic about showing his work and telling his story. He loved taking photos, it was his out, his escape.

The current health care system failed Jeremiah, there is no other way to say it. I can not help but feel as if I failed him as well. He was crying out for help, he needed help, he did not get help. He did not have to die. He was a warrior and fought through more pain and hardship than any man should have to in one lifetime. There is only so much one can take, and I pray that he is well now. I pray that his broken body is strong and he can once again be active, run around, shoot some hoops, look down upon his family that he so loved, and feel no pain.

I know that because I do not have actual Lyme disease that I can never fully understand what it is like. I want you, Lyme community, to know that I am here though, and now more than ever we need Inanna House. We need others to see and realize that this is out of control, criminal, and nothing short of a travesty. We need to come together and make this happen ourselves. We need to become like water and make our own path. We need to build the new reality that makes the old model obsolete. I promise, for you, my sister, others who have fought but lost their battle, that I will not give up. And I promise you Jeremiah, my friend, that I will not stop fighting for the change you so needed. I will miss you, as will so many others you have touched in this life.


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