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A 22-year-old died by suicide after years-long struggle with chronic Lyme disease, her father says in a heart-wrenching LinkedIn post

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emily champagne

Champagne Emily.Courtesy of Alan Champagne

  • Her father said Amelie Champaign, 22, committed suicide this month after a battle with Lyme disease.

  • Lyme disease can infiltrate the joints, heart, and nervous system if left untreated.

  • Her father shared the news on LinkedIn: “She decided to free herself from the unbearable pain.”

Amélie Champagne, 22, struggled to find an explanation for her physical pain for years before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in June 2021.

By that time, the bacteria carried by the tick had already done serious damage to its brain. One Sunday in September — more than a year after her diagnosis — Champagne committed suicide.

Her father Alan, the outgoing president of Canadian pharmacy chain Jean Coutu Group, recently shared the news in an influential LinkedIn post.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts (and still in shock) sharing the tragic news that our beloved Amelie, 22, committed suicide last Sunday,” he wrote last week.

She is survived by Alan, along with her mother Joan, brother Matthew and boyfriend Nick, according to the post.

Lyme disease can cause a range of physical symptoms including joint pain, muscle pain and chronic fatigue. Most cases resolve with a few weeks of antibiotics, but the disease can progress if not treated early.

“Over time and despite modern treatments, the disease has progressed beyond her many physical symptoms and is now severely affecting her brain,” Alain Champagne wrote on LinkedIn.

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“Lyme basically kidnapped her.”

The Champagne family testified on how difficult life with Lyme disease was, Amelie’s father wrote in the post.

Early symptoms can include fever, aches, chills, headache and fatigue, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bullseye rash usually appears about a week after an infected tick bite.

The family went through “years of medical attraction” in their hometown of Quebec, before finally receiving an accurate diagnosis for Amelie in the United States. At that time, the disease progressed without treatment.

The bacteria that cause Lyme disease can infiltrate the joints, heart and nervous system if the disease is left to develop. Long-term complications include Lyme arthritis, which may require surgery; Lyme carditis, an inflammation of the heart that causes fainting and palpitations. and diffuse nervous system dysfunction, including severe headache, pricking pain, and facial paralysis.

“Over time, Lyme basically kidnapped her. [sic]Champagne’s father wrote, “She was so brave throughout this ordeal…she decided to free herself from the unbearable pain.”

Although Amelie’s father did not identify her physical symptoms, he said she continued to show resilience and optimism despite her pain. She persevered in her studies and volunteered at a center for disabled children and a nearby homeless shelter.

In the wake of Amelie’s death, her friends and family are leaning on each other for support, Champagne wrote in the post.

“We will love you forever, and cherish every memory of our wonderful time together. You made us all better people. Now it’s up to us to rise to the challenge.”

Read the original article on Insider

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