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Fundraiser set for local man with Lyme disease

by ROSE SHABABY
Hagadone News Network | February 25, 2021 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — In 2014, Joseph Cook began feeling sick. Before long it became clear he was battling a serious illness, but it wasn’t until 2015 that he was diagnosed with Lyme disease along with multiple co-infections.

Since then, his health has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Now, a GoFundMe page has been set up to try and help him and his family.

The disease has had a devastating effect on Cook’s life, confining him to a wheelchair at one point. The 52-year-old hasn’t been able to work as a result of the myriad of symptoms affecting him: around-the-clock headaches, widespread inflammation with burning pain and stiffness, weakness, uncontrollable muscle spasms and seizures.

He found relief in 2018 with the help of a Florida doctor. During his time there, his health improved enough to go home, where he continued to improve and build his strength. Then, in June 2020, he suffered a setback and hasn’t been able to work since.

His immediate family has done everything they can to support him but it just isn’t enough, the family said in a statement. There is an urgent financial need for continued treatment, past medical debt and basic living expenses such as rent and food.

His wife, Lora, provides care for Joseph while also homeschooling their two youngest children, both 10 years old, according to the GoFundMe. 70% of Joseph’s treatment are regular IV drips he receives in Spokane, which costs him $325 for two days of IV he gets every week.

Lora said the family is hoping that they may be able to purchase a machine that would allow Joseph to get IV infusions at home in the future, she said.

The family’s monthly budget is around $4,000, including medical debt, current payments, gas to travel to Spokane and household expenses, Lora said. It also includes nutritional supplements Joseph needs to help with long-term treatment.

“It’s something he’s had for years,” Lora said. “[Antibiotics are] something you can’t do long-term.”

“The family is deeply grateful for the kindness and benevolence of all in our community who have been helpful during our time of need," the family said. "We hope someday to be able to help others in need in our local community as well.”

Anyone wishing to help can make a donation to the family's GoFundMe page at: https://gofund.me/4c71d0f8, or call Lora Cook at 208-304-5069 with any questions.

For a tax-deductible receipt, contributions can be made to: L.A.M.B. Services Inc., P.O. Box 1050, Ceres, CA 95307 (Joseph Cook account.)

Rachel Sun contributed to this report.