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ILADEF > This Lyme Awareness Month, ILADS is proud to partner with Olivia Flowers to raise awareness about Lyme + tick-borne disease in honor of her brother, Conner.

Olivia Flowers is a television personality best known for her role on the reality show “Southern Charm.” Outside of television, Olivia is an advocate for Lyme disease awareness, a cause close to her heart after her brother Conner’s diagnosis. 

One thing that my brother Conner’s journey with Lyme opened my eyes to are the gaps that exist in our medical system. For one, there is a clear lack of proper care for those with Lyme and other chronic inflammatory diseases. To begin addressing this, we need more research, better testing, and programs that support insurance coverage for necessary treatments. Closing these gaps is essential to ensuring everyone gets the care they need.

Ultimately, while my family was fortunate enough to provide whatever means necessary in order to help my brother, we encountered a significant obstacle: the lack of proper testing. Because he wasn’t able to receive the testing he needed, we weren’t able to have the crucial conversations about treatment as quickly as we might have otherwise had. 

Being a patient leaves you in a vulnerable state, and you’re forced to rely on professionals for a plan of action to move you toward recovery. If we can provide more education for both the professionals and the patients around these diseases, we can empower individuals with knowledge and agency in their own healthcare journey. Not only does this give back the patients a sense of control and confidence but facilitates more informed discussions between patients and healthcare providers, leading to better outcomes.

That’s why I’m so grateful to organizations like ILADS. I remember when I first took to Instagram to share my brother’s story. I found myself completely overwhelmed by the many responses from the Lyme community, all with similar stories. Stories with common themes of misdiagnoses and feelings of isolation brought on by living with the debilitating symptoms of Lyme. 

I knew I wanted to raise awareness around the issue, and was referred to ILADS, where I connected with the wonderful Executive Director, Sarah Quillen. When I told Sarah I wanted to learn more, she jumped into action, and not only provided me with helpful information, but has given so much of her time to helping me speak out on such a difficult topic.

She also shared with me the ILADS mission, to create a system that allows people like my brother to receive the care they deserve, and so desperately need. I admire ILADS’ determination and passion to improve the system from within through increasing education and research. 

As we continue through Lyme Awareness Month, the piece of advice I would leave you with is to be patient with yourself and with your body. As you navigate the diagnosis and subsequent treatments, hold on to hope, and find comfort in the fact that there are organizations like ILADS who are dedicated to promoting higher standards of care and recovery for this disease. Lastly- don’t be afraid to ask questions, and know that there are so many professionals (like the many doctors at ILADS) who are searching for answers.

Thank you so much for letting me share my story. Despite Conner’s privacy regarding his challenges, he dedicated his life to helping others. In his honor, I am so happy to support the ILADS however I can.

The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) is a nonprofit, international, multidisciplinary medical society dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other complex inflammatory diseases. With these educational blog posts, ILADS aims to promote awareness and understanding of health and wellness, especially as it relates to complex inflammatory diseases, so that we can all learn and grow together. If you have any questions or want more information, you can email us at