Yolanda Hadid may be best known as the star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” but her advocacy for the chronic Lyme disease community deserves as much recognition.

To that end, ProHealth, Inc. is giving the Dutch-American actress and model a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Connie Strasheim – editor of ProHealth’s Lyme disease page and author of four books on the subject – interviewed Hadid to learn more about her five-year journey with this chronic and debilitating condition.

“We’re honored to award Yolanda Hadid with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts to foster awareness about chronic Lyme disease,” says ProHealth Founder Rich Carson, “and for her courage and willingness to share her story publicly, as she also battles to recover from Lyme.”

Hadid’s story began with a string of misdiagnoses and inappropriate treatments. Even when Lyme disease was finally identified, the standard treatment left her feeling even worse. That’s when she turned to alternative solutions. Today, her treatment regimen provides her with the best quality of life she has experienced since before her illness. Sadly, two of her children have been diagnosed with Lyme – an unfortunately common occurrence with this disease.

Each year in the U.S. alone, there are about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease, and millions worldwide battle the disease. Lyme is indeed a pandemic, yet it doesn’t receive the attention warranted by the numbers.

Diagnosing Lyme disease is challenging because it mimics other chronic diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Many bacterial strains have yet to be identified, and testing is often inaccurate. Relatively modest research funding compounds these challenges.

Hadid intends to flip the script on Lyme disease funding and research. Despite her symptoms, she continues to work diligently to be a voice for the millions who don’t have one. She has participated in charity fundraising events, including Stand4Lyme’s Catalyst 4 The Cure concert and the Lyme Research Alliance 2015 gala. Her goal is to raise awareness today, while laying the groundwork for a cure tomorrow.

“If I could be remembered for anything, it would be that I was able to help find a cure for Lyme,” says Hadid. “I also want to be known as someone who gives hope to others.”

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