HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM)– A local 21-year-old woman who suffers from Lyme disease is now spreading her story on a U.S.A Lyme Educational Tour.

Cassidy Colbert partnered with the Lyme Education Awareness Foundation to spread her story of living with Lyme disease across the country. Colbert believes she might’ve been bitten by a tick when she was four-years-old but didn’t start to show symptoms until she was 14.

“I didn’t learn about this in school, and you learn about all the different kinds of stuff but we live in a tick-infested area,” said Colbert. “The only way to prevent it is education and for kids to learn this stuff. We don’t want other children to end up like me and experience the horrors of Lyme disease and lose their childhood to this thing.”

There are currently 300,000 people living with Lyme disease according to the CDC. Colbert said that her symptoms ranged from having severe headaches to excruciating fatigue to the point her body would become paralyzed unexpectedly. 

While there’s no cure for Lyme disease, prevention paired with education can save a child’s life one lesson at a time.

“Ticks don’t discriminate, no matter where you are, you’re at risk and some people don’t realize the dangers,” said Colbert. “If you have pets, they can bring ticks inside so you’re getting ticks from them too.”

President of L.E.A.F Nancy Fox has lived with Lyme disease for 33 years and her passion behind their U.S.A Tour is making people realize that everyone is at risk, even if you don’t think it’ll happen to you.

“We don’t think it’ll happen to us but if you know and you start practicing those behaviors, you’re less at risk to get all the symptoms that have happened to many, many, many millions of people at this point,” said Fox.

If you have been bitten by a tick, Colbert advises to not kill the tick but instead have it tested for the most reliable results.