Melissa Olephant- Live Laugh Lyme

Patient Leader

Finalist

Best in Show: Instagram Hilarious Health Activist Advocating for Another

My unique lyme disease journey inspired me to create a Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter handle called “Live Laugh Lyme. Since I could not find sites empowering lyme patients to stay strong and positive, I created “Live Laugh Lyme.” My illness led me to become a strong independent “lyme warrior” who had proudly taken a scary, painful experience and used it to bring happiness to “lymies” and their loved ones. I have learned that laughter can truly be the best medicine and that a shared smile is a special way to comfort strangers and create a wonderful community of special “lyme warriors!” Although it will be be a long time until I can lead a “normal” life again, I know that after being so sick I can face any challenge and inspire others too. I cherish the feedback I get from patients all over the world who say my page makes them smile, realize that they are not alone, and inspires them to stay strong. My page has over 2,000 “likes” and continues to grow!  — Live

Melissa has inspired the Lyme community! Honestly she inspires me and I don't have Lyme disease. She posts on her facebook page LiveLaughLyme even on days where her treatment leaves her very ill. She posts and communicates with other Lyme patients and families. (and random me) and her positive attitude rubs off on us!  — Melissa

She spreads joy to everyone and shares her amazing story day by day with a smile on her face even though she is going through something so difficult. She keeps her tough situation in a positive and hilarious way, bringing positive energy to those who feel down from their health.  — Bridget

Melissa is a tireless and high spirited health activist for the cause of Lyme Disease! She is upbeat and encouraging to others--even when sick as a dog herself! She has consistently posted informative articles and updates on Lyme plus entertaining comic relief pieces as well. She is a natural communicator and makes an excellent representative for the Lyme Community. She is a doll and very loved.

I first came across Melissa on Facebook, which is frequently the only social interaction that many Lymies (those suffering from Chronic Lyme disease) have access to. She began with light-hearted posts to help lift our mood, as laughter is so important to healing, even temporary relief from the constant pain we are in. She then went on to create the Live Laugh Lyme Family photo album. She created a series of signs that could be printed and then be held up in photos, such as "Someone I love is a Lyme Warrior" or "I am a Lyme Warrior!" This inspired me to overcome personal pain and fatigue to compete in a 5k mud run and take a picture for the "family album". I know that I am one of many Lymies who receive inspiration from her, both from her page and her personal journey with chronic Lyme. She truly is a Health Activist Hero!  — Allegra

I would like to nominate Melissa Olephant for always trying to lift everyone else's spirits as she struggles with Lyme disease. She takes time out of her day to post on facebook, twitter and instagram to make her fellow lymies laugh. She is an inspiration to so many of us. She deserves this award.

Melissa has struggled with sickness for over three years, but has never lost her sense of humor. She brings a smile to everyone's faces daily and is a fighter in every sense of the word.  — Andrew

Melissa's case seems to be a medical mystery. Some people don't realize good health is a blessing that can be taken away at any moment. I imagine it's difficult for her to get up every morning without the promise of a perfect cure. Melissa has single-handedly created a supportive community of Lyme Warriors with her Facebook page Live, Laugh, Lyme. Live, Laugh, Lyme (also on Instagram and Twitter) arms followers with facts, laughs, and motivation. Life, Laugh, Lyme provides "Lymies" and their friends and family with a compassionate and understanding place to share their feelings, struggles, and encouragement. Life, Laugh, Lyme is her project to raise awareness, moreover it's a place for humor, friendship, and inspiration. The difficulties of living with Lyme and Melissa's compassion for others deserves recognition. Please help her and those suffering everyday from Lyme. She's adorable and so is her project!  — Anne

In spite of her own serious health challenges, Melissa created a Facebook page where she posts humorous memes designed to keep fellow Lyme patients laughing.  — Katherine

I have suffered with Lyme Disease for years now, and even in the medical community I have felt alienated by doctor's that misdiagnosed me and people who did not understand what I was going through. Instagram, oddly enough, has been a place that allowed me to connect with other people on a similar journey to myself. Live Laugh Lyme is a great page because it posts inspiration for people who are alienated by this crippling disease. I'm grateful to have found it.  — Gabrielle

I am honored to call Jill my lyme sister because she gives me strength, motivates me, and helps me stay the strong lyme warrior I am today. Thank you Jill for making the Live Laugh Lyme Instagram Lymetastic!  — Live

Melissa is a strong individual who has been so persistant in her fight against lyme disease. The page she created called Live Laugh Lyme provides a strong foundation of encouragement and hope. Although I do not suffer from Lyme, her page still highlights my day with laughter and joy. If there is one person who deserves this award it is Melissa- a true hilarious health activist!  — Lauren

Very informative and funny at the same time. Accomplished two birds with one stone, which is a wonderful way to make people listen about lyme disease, and spread awareness in a way in which people very much pay attention.  — dipesh

Because the page owner is a beautiful person that created this inspiring page for herself and all of us suffering from this disease, I'm truly greatfull for it and the humor and information she provides us!  — Tammy

Melissa is a truly inspiring individual as she bravely shares her journey through Lyme. Her posts and e cards are absolutely hilarious while so informative of what's going on for patients. She has blossomed on Facebook with a great fan base and lots of interaction with others. While I wish she wasn't suffering with this disease, there is no better person to be engaging others in Lyme awareness!  — Jessica

Wonderful activist  — Melissa

The site encourages and strengthens the very sick and desperate Lyme community. Many of whom are home bound and Facebook is there only communication with other people who are also sick with Lyme disease. It's funny, uplifting and encouraging. Always positive and witty the site gives us an opportunity to Laugh at ourselves during what is otherwise a painful, sad and hopeless situation. Melissa does a fantastic job as the site creator especially as she is very ill herself. I have found it to be a place where we can share our stories, exchange helpful information and find a bit of hope in our day.  — Carmel

As a person with lyme, going to Live Laugh Lyme brightens my day. Seeing how others cope with this chronic disease and seeing these stories always gives me hope for the future.  — Chris

She keeps the Lyme community moving, spreading awareness, causing humor, and simply keeping everyone motivated.  — Katie

For helping people with Lyme Disease and being a voice for our community,  — Jenna

Always cheers me up with relatable posts!

Melissa a wonderful person who gives so much attention and support to others in spite of being very ill through her Live Laugh Lyme online presence. She maintains a positive attitude in this beast of a fight against Lyme and other tick-borne diseases with various toxicities and genetic problems. She may be a "tough case," but she is also one "tough cookie" who makes all of us who are similarly suffering smile and laugh when all we want to do most of the time is cry, complain, and--quite frankly--give up. She posts exactly what I would post if I could muster the energy and motivation and it's that relatable-ness of her posts that make Live Laugh Lyme such a success. I wish her nothing but the best in her recovery and her endeavors in this life. Melissa, keep up the great work!

Bringing smiles to the faces of those living with Lyme disease!  — Janelle

Melissa is the best and has worked compassionately through her illness to help others!  — Sarah

LiveLaughLyme has been an awesome addition to the Lyme community! When patients are in pain, they want something to lift their spirits. LiveLaughLyme is proof that laughter is the best medicine, and Melissa does a wonderful job in providing that medicine for her fellow Warriors!  — Marissa

Melissa makes it a necessity to raise awareness about Lyme disease and the health complications from Lyme disease. Lyme / co-infections are very serious, sometimes fatal diseases. They bring crippling pain and disabling symptoms. To prevent others from being blind to the dangers of Lyme, Melissa raises awareness to the general public through LiveLaughLyme through articles, sharing facts, and sharing her own journey. Through all of this, Melissa could have very well saved some lives!  — Marissa

Melissa is an amazing Lyme warrior who not only fights for herself, but for fellow Lyme warriors! LiveLaughLyme is an incredible group that spreads support to warriors battling Lyme disease. Thank you, Melissa!  — Marissa

For her support and positive attitude for those with Lyme Disease  — Saara

Live Laugh Lyme, is a great way to inspire Lymies' in the lyme community!!!  — Elizabeth

Awesome =)  — Jamie

The creator of Live Laugh Lyme Melissa is a truly amazing person. She is always there for others. She is always teaching others about Chronic Lyme Disease and the risk that the disease has. She's a true activist for Lymies everywhere.  — Melissa

Live Laugh Lyme should be nominated for Best in Show: Facebook, because my sis Melissa Olephant has been battling Lyme disease for several years now, and through Live Laugh Lyme she has inspired many fellow Lymies and also myself and other people alike. She has turned a horrible, painfully chronic disease and given something for people to laugh about. Laughing is one of the best medicines for the mind and body alike. I believe this gives her a purpose and a way to channel away from all the pain and sleeplessness. It also gives her purpose. She felt like with this disease she was just a burden to her family and friends. But now she's got something to do, to fight for, to live for and giving much needed hope to fellow Lymies!!  — John

She created Live Laugh Lyme and continues to spread humor and happiness to suffering Lyme patients through it.  — Ashley

they are amazing!  — Adrianna

Because of work they've done to increase awareness concerning Lyme Disease.  — Allan

She's sick herself and thinks of others and runs a support group. Always has a great attitude, despite however bad she is feeling. She seeks to inspire others with laughter and smiles.  — C

I find Live Laugh Lyme to be my inspiration daily and am forever grateful to have been connected with this amazing page.  — jenelle

Melissa is a such a courageous and inspiring Lyme Disease fighter and activist. She genuinely cares so much about those around her fighting this brutal illness (many of whom she has never even met!) She devotes her time and energy to spreading awareness, hope, encouragement, and support. All the while, she endures rigorous treatment and debilitating symptoms on a daily basis - of which any "Lymie" can relate to. She brings joy to those around her and has such a sweet spirit. Always willing to listen and lend a shoulder to lean on, she is the definition of a true, accepting friend. I'm grateful for her and so proud of her for creating the awesome Live, Laugh, Lyme page!  — Jennifer

I am nominating Live Laugh Lyme for providing support and education to Lyme Disease sufferers. Raising awareness of this hideous debilitating disease. Also for helping sufferers maintain their sense of humour in the face of adversity.  — Janelle

Nice to have company don't you think....

She has lyme disease like I do, but she still manages to post something totally funny everyday. I admire her for her dedication.

Melissa goes above and beyond to make others laugh and smile with her organization LiveLaughLyme. She provides a safe place on several social media cites that allow those with chronic Lyme disease (like herself) to vent, seek advice, seek encouragement, meet other people struggling with Lyme disease and basically making u feel like ur not alone.  — Jill

Melissa is the founder of Live,Laugh,Lyme. She has Chronic Lyme Disease but she hasn't let that slow her down. She blogs &facebooks about Lyme Disease,Chronic illness, pain and how to cope with those terrible diseases, symptoms and disorders and still live your life. She inspires many with her message of Lyme Disease Awareness AND prevention.  — Shay

Melissa takes time everyday to uplift, educate and spread awareness to thoses suffering from Lyme Disease. She is always helping others by using her Facebook to post articles, legislation, and self help ideas and articles. She also helps by supporting the University of Delaware's LiveLaughLyme new chapter. Melissa is a true hero!  — Shay

Live Laugh Lyme always brings me inspirational tweets that make me feel better about myself! I know that through LLL, I am not alone suffering Lyme Disease.  — Chris

Despite being very ill herself, she has set up this page to reach out to others in the Lyme community and give them a reason to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.  — Vanessa

She is helping to increase awareness of Lyme disease.

My biggest inspiration in this world is Melissa. She is like a big sister to me. With Live Laugh Lyme, people are able to know that there is support for them, no matter how hard life may get. She inspires to keep pushing towards our goals in life-- whether it be to health, or something much more simple in life. -Lauren Shapley  — Lauren

Lyme Disease is a very difficult disease, which many people do not understand. Symptoms often come and go and one cannot plan much in advance because symptoms can surface at any given time without notice. Living requires an amazing amount of patience, support, and laughter. LiveLaughLyme accomplishes just that - laughter -for Lymies everywhere.  — Autumn

Melissa continues to spread support and humor for fellow lymies and supporters of Live Laugh Lyme; even while battling Lyme and Co's herself. We all need to smile and enjoy life through tough times, and Melissa is a key example that humor and positivity can help all of us and help our days be a bit easier!  — Katie

LiveLaughLyme posts the funniest photos to go with her silly posts, brightening Chronic Lyme Disease sufferers' days with a way to laugh through the pain.  — Kylie

She is motivational and inspirational to the Lyme community. Her posts are refreshing and humorous and this helps others feel like they are not alone in the battle for a cure.  — Anelis

Melissa Olephant has shown such great dedication to this organization that she has started called Live Laugh Lyme. She is always trying to use this to help others that suffer from Lyme Disease just like she is and it is truly inspiring.  — Lanie Ann

Melissa helps by bringing humor to those suffering from chronic Lyme disease.  — Ashley

Bringing awareness while bringing happiness to those suffering

Brings awareness while making everyone laugh

Sharing awareness and humor

This optimistic uplifting page has set out on a mission to spread awarness for Lyme Disease&TBDs. Live Laugh Lyme does that and then some with their constant informative posts, funny bits & words of encouragement. They are the epitome of a Health Activist as they do whatever it takes to make a real difference in the lives of others!  — Erin

Because even while suffering from a disease that is affecting millions of people worldwide, myself included, and even while her case is currently untreatable because she is unable to tolerate medications...she still strives to spread awareness of this disease. To make those of us suffering "Remember lyme disease doesn't define you!"  — Rosemary Lymesucks

she helped me obtain a more light hearted mind state with my day to day activities and my own healing journey living with limes  — Alex

Live Laugh Lyme is a young woman struggling with Chronic Lyme and co-infections. She has decided to put a humorous spin on an awful disease and I look forward to seeing what she finds to brighten my day and make me say, "Yep, exactly." She should be out enjoying life, but until that happens, she chooses to lift others spirits.  — Kathleen

She is always fighting for others. Plus, has found a way to put smiles on our faces. Always spreading awareness .  — Robert

Because she is great at raising awareness for Lyme Disease!

Lyme Disease is a very isolating disease. Most people don't know how totally devastating this disease is (including family and friends) and I cannot get through my day without connecting with someone who not only "gets it", but who also brings healing through laughter.  — Courtney

this is a hard-working and dedicated activist. humor is the best way to bring awareness, too!  — Terry

Laughter, it helps so many when their life is so consumed with suffering. Great job Melissa!  — Jill

This page inspires me and others who are battling life with Lyme disease.  — Melissa

Prior to my involvement with Live Laugh Lyme, I was focusing on my disease and feeling sorry for myself. As soon as I became involved with Live Laugh Lyme, my entire outlook changed and I now approach life (and my disease/treatment) with a positive outlook. This is all due to Live Laugh Lyme. They are a hidden gem that deserves recognition.  — Lindsey

Live Laugh Lyme focuses on the positive things that we have in spite of being afflicted with Lyme disease. The site allows us to share the funny things that we encounter as well as to commiserate with others when things are not going so well. By bringing some levity into our lives, LLL makes our days lighter and allows us to live with our problems.  — Albert

Living a life impacted by Lyme disease takes becoming both a sherlock-holmes and a survivor. First, you have to be a detective to discover what's making you sick, then you have to fight to survive the lack of medical management available. Melissa bravely shares the realities of her life to encourage others to keep going.  — GWEN

Just a tough cookie with quite a story to share.

For a person who came along way and shows great spirit despite going through the challenges of Lyme disease  — Rob

I love her spirit and laughter in the Lyme Community.  — Beth

This page definitely describes the life of somebody with Lyme Disease! It has a lot of truthful, motivating and comic relief quotes!  — Kelly

Live Laugh Lyme brings humor into a world of unending pain!

Melissa works very hard on Live Laugh Lyme to provide up to date information and lots of relatable laughs about a disease that is not the least bit funny. In the Lyme Disease world, she is a true gem!!

Melissa works very hard to provide breaking or important news to the lyme disease community, and of course, lots of laughs that are much needed with this deadly disease. She is very deserving of this award.  — LeAnn

She dedicates herself to supporting those with Lyme disease, even as she, herself, struggles with the disease. She maintains a blog daily through the ups and downs of her own health.  — julie

Melissa is an inspiration to others throughout her tumultuous battle with Lyme disease. She has fought the disease with dignity and grace, all while educating others in a relate able and humorous way.  — Jessica

She is a Lyme Warrior and her page Live Laugh Lyme and her story is inspiring and gives hope and love to others of us out there going through the same thing  — Tammy

Melissa is passionate about using her experience at Rutgers to push the awareness movement for Lyme Disease forward. She is the founder of Live Laugh Lyme, a Facebook page where funny things are posted that bring humor to a rather depressing disease. I appreciate her passion to advocate for others who can only socialize behind a computer screen.  — Elizabeth

Got me through some of my hardest times while I was fighting my journey with Chronic Lyme Disease. The owner of the account is so kind and is always there for her followers!  — Rebecca

She is one of the strongest people that I know. Her forum is so inspiring and I love that she goes out of her way to try to make people feel better.  — savannah

So positive, helping others even though struggling herself :)  — Elizabeth

Melissa struggles against Lyme Disease herself, but she's always advocating for others struggling, too :)

She deserves this more than anything. She's a wonderful friend of mine. She does what she can to get the word out about Lyme. She's the one of the strongest people I know.  — Kayla

Melissa is an inspiration to me and everyone who knows her. She has Lyme but is so strong and always with a ready smile. She gives hope to others.  — Kary

She always has a ready smile and little jokes to help you forget about your pain or what you are going through without thinking of her own pain . She makes each day a great one and always with hope and strength. Her fortitude inspires me

She is always so positive and helping towards others. She deserves it :)

Melissa always makes finds the positive in every situation and everything thrown her way and she encourages people to do the same! Its quite inspiring!  — Winona

She is truly determined to find help for herself and others in the fight against and the search for a cure for lyme disease  — Carol

Livelaughlyme posts are uplifting and bring awareness to lyme disease.

She has inspired me to be open about my lyme disease!!  — Live

A great fun, informative page.  — Aimee

As a person with Chronic Lyme Disease Live Laugh Lyme makes me laugh even on the days I'm lying in bed feeling my worst. I find encouragement & humor with the posts via Live Laugh Lyme. I believe despite Live Laugh Lyme owner who has also has Lyme Disease & is often quite sick herself yet still manages to post something daily that brings encouragement that makes others smile. Since Lyme is a long term chronic disease I look forward to seeing the next post by Live Laugh Lyme, after all laughter is the BEST medicine!  — Valerie

I laugh everyday with their posts that's very important for someone fighting Lyme Also have learned a lot from their posts. Fellow Lyme warrior  — Pam

Melissa Olephant- Live Laugh Lyme

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