Grief-stricken CEO reveals his daughter, 22, killed herself after struggling with Lyme disease 

A 22-year-old Canadian woman has taken her own life after struggling with Lyme disease ‘to free herself from the unbearable pain’, her father revealed in a heartfelt note.

The disease ‘essentially highjacked her’, said her father, Alain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, in a public LinkedIn tribute posted after she died. 

Amelie Champagne fought for years undiagnosed with the disease, but persevered with her studies at university and worked at a respite center for special-needs children despite the pain.

The disease, which can be contracted from tick bites, had evolved way beyond physical symptoms and was severely impacting her brain.

She received a positive diagnosis in the US last year after years of wrestling with her condition. But it came too late to alleviate her symptoms.

Amelie campaigned heavily on behalf of those suffering for autism, her Facebook profile shows.

Amelie Champagne, 22, had started volunteering at a homeless shelter and helped handicapped children despite while struggling for years undiagnosed with Lyme disease

Her father, lain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, shared a message on LinkedIn after his daughter took her own life 'to free herself from the unbearable pain'

Her father, lain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, shared a message on LinkedIn after his daughter took her own life ‘to free herself from the unbearable pain’

‘We are confident she is now in peace and that her spirit is shining bright upon the large number of people she touched over her short stay with us,’ wrote Alain.

The young woman had also started volunteered in a homeless shelter near her parent’s home in the months leading up to her death.

What is Lyme Disease? 

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, often transmitted through tick bites.

The tick-borne illness affects more than 200,000 people in the United States.

The earliest signs of Lyme disease include a bull’s eye pattern rash and Flu-like symptoms. 

A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.

The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.

The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.

The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin.

It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.

‘The resilience and continued optimism she displayed while dealing with the ever increasing symptoms was and remains my main source of inspiration,’ her father wrote. 

‘Despite the fact that every breath and every moment is painful at this stage, in her honor we will try to keep living our lives with the same altitude she lived hers.’

Although her illness had progressed to an unbearable point, she remained a vibrant member of her community, her father said.  

He concluded: ‘We will love you forever, and cherish every memory of our wonderful time together. You made us all better people. It’s now up to us to rise up to the challenge…’

The post had almost 8,000 likes and 1,571 comments as of Tuesday.

In the comments, people shared their own tragic stories with Lyme disease. 

Lyme disease, experts say, is usually treatable, though rare chronic cases often go undiagnosed.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to people who contract Lyme disease.

But those for whom prescriptions don’t work are referred to a hospital or clinic where they can receive stronger antibiotics.

Chronic Lyme disease is much more serious than the cases normally contracted.

Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease are similar to those of Lyme disease, but more severe. They include pain, fatigue, neurocognitive and behavioral symptoms.

It can also lead to other diagnosises, most of which tend to be neurologic and rheumatologic diseases.

If Lyme disease is left untreated, sufferers may begin to experience severe headaches and/or neck stiffness, body rashes, arthritis, loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face, heart palpitations, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.

Pets can also contract the disease, showing similar symptoms to humans. The disease is not contageous.

Alain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, shared the tragic post on LinkedIn

Alain Champagne, CEO of Groupe Jean Coutu and Brunet, shared the tragic post on LinkedIn 

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