New Year's Eve gala held to benefit Phoenixville woman

Karen Franks
Karen Franks

For immediate release --- On December 31st, 2013 from 8:00 pm until 12:30 am on January 1st 2014, friends of former healthcare professional Karen Franks, hosted a gala New Year’s Eve celebration in Phoenixville Pa. at Avon Lea Farm, designed by European architect Oskar Stonorov. The mission of the event was to help Karen bear the financial burden of her medical costs due to Lyme disease. According to the PALymeNetwork, the State of Pennsylvania has the highest incidence of people diagnosed each year with Lyme disease, and the numbers continue to grow.

Karen Franks, former pharmaceutical sales professional and registered nurse, knows all too well the debilitating physical, emotional, and financial toll of Lyme disease. Since 2010, when she was diagnosed with multiple Lyme and tick-borne infections, she has suffered because Karen, like so many of her fellow sufferers, was initially misdiagnosed. Valuable time was lost on her fight against Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacteria, spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. The fact that the black-legged ticks, the ones infected with Lyme disease, are the size of a poppy seed during part of their life cycle, contributes to this problem. The other compounding factor is that blood tests to detect Lyme are unreliable, and the telltale sign of a migrans rash is found in only 40% of patients. Even more so, since the Lyme bacteria morphs and travels throughout the body, symptoms wax and wane and are quite varied from person to person.

Not only is Lyme disease a difficult diagnosis for doctors to make, but also a missed diagnosis can prolong exposure to the disease, requiring additional and costly treatments. Those additional treatments are generally not covered by insurance companies beyond the period of treatments authorized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a period helpful only for those diagnosed immediately after Lyme is contracted. These treatment guidelines are successful for many of those fortunate enough to be screened and treated early, but fall short for those whose bite goes undetected.

Currently, Karen is in the midst of an 8-month course of costly IV antibiotic treatments to help rid her central nervous system of the Lyme. The University of Pennsylvania dual major graduate, who spent her professional career helping to improve the lives of others, is now eager to spread the word about the proactive ways people can lower their risk of acquiring the disease as well as the importance of early Lyme testing, and her friends are eager to help her get to a place where she can devote her time fully to this admirable venture.


The “In the Lyme Light New Years Eve Gala Benefit” was the first of several events planned to help spread the word while at the same time helping Karen get to the other side of this nasty disease. Check for Karen’s story and a listing of future benefit events.