fight the bite

The winners of the 2019 Fight the Bite Lyme Awareness 5K after the race. 

(May 8, 2020) The fifth annual Fight the Bite Lyme Awareness 5K/Run Walk will shift to a virtual event this year to comply with state and federal guidelines regarding the coronavirus. 

Instead of running or walking a 5K on the Boardwalk during a specific event day, Fight the Bite Organizer Angela Burke said that participants can run or walk any day during the entire month of May, which is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. 

“You can walk it, you can run it, you can do it in your neighborhood, you can do it on your treadmill if you want, any place that you would like to,” Burke said. “When you complete it, if you would like to take a selfie and send it in, we’ll put that on our gallery or on our wall and share it with others.” 

Participants can also post their photo to Instagram with the hashtag #fightthebiteoc. 

There is no registration fee, but people can still sign up and donate at fightthebiteoc.org

For every $10 that someone donates, they are entered into a virtual raffle, which will be drawn on June 1. There will be three different prizes from Panera, Burley Oak and Melaleuca, a wellness company. 

With the transition to a virtual event, Burke thinks that many people will still participate, since most are engaged in social media and spending more time indoors to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. She hopes to meet people via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

According to Burke, the goal is to get people connected with education materials about Lyme disease and updates from Fight the Bite. 

“All of the monies raised at the event that we have in the spring go to educational materials and advertisements reminding the community to take the proper steps to prevent tick bites,” Burke said. 

The organization typically advertises on the Ocean City transit system and also has billboards in Maryland and Delaware. 

Lyme disease is spread through a tick bite. Symptoms include a fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash, according to the Center for Disease and Control. 

Untreated, it can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system. 

Disease prevention includes using insect repellent, checking clothing and the body after spending time outdoors, and maintaining the lawn and other outdoor areas. 

Burke said she was diagnosed with Lyme disease many years ago, and is still dealing with the effects today. 

“You can acquire tick-borne diseases in your own backyard, so that’s why I emphasize taking just a couple of preventive measures to keep yourself from getting the tick bite,” Burke said. 

Fight the Bite typically holds a bingo night in April at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City and following the 5K, an after party at the Cork Bar in downtown Ocean City with speakers and an auction. Because of the coronavirus, these events cannot take place, but Burke said she hopes to return for next year. 

To learn more about Lyme disease and to participate in the 5K, visit fightthebiteoc.org.

Elizabeth covers Worcester County issues for Ocean City Today. In 2018, she graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with a bachelor of arts. After graduation, Elizabeth spent a year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Wilmington, Delaware.

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