- Amelie Champagne, 22, took her own life this month after a battle with Lyme disease, her father said.
- Lyme disease can infiltrate the joints, heart and nervous system if left untreated.
- Her father shared the news on LinkedIn: “She has decided to release herself from the unbearable pain.”
Amélie Champagne, 22, struggled to find an explanation for her physical pain for years before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in June 2021.
By then, the tick-borne bacteria had already severely damaged his brain. One Sunday in September, more than a year after her diagnosis, Champagne committed suicide.
Her father Alain, outgoing president of Canadian pharmacy chain Groupe Jean Coutu, recently shared the news in a poignant post on LinkedIn.
“It is with the heaviest heart (and still in shock) that I share the tragic news that our darling Amélie (22) committed suicide last Sunday,” he wrote last week.
She is survived by Alain, as well as her mother Joanne, her brother Mathieu and her boyfriend Nic, according to the post.
Lyme disease can cause a host of physical symptoms, including joint pain, muscle pain, and chronic fatigue. Most cases resolve with a few weeks of antibiotics, but the disease can progress if not treated early.
“Over time and despite recent treatments, the disease had evolved far beyond the many physical symptoms and was now seriously affecting his brain,” wrote Alain Champagne on LinkedIn.
“Lyme essentially hijacked it”
The Champagne family has testified to how difficult life with Lyme disease can be, Amélie’s father wrote in the post.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early symptoms may include fever, body aches, chills, headache, and fatigue. A telltale rash usually appears about a week after the bite of an infected tick.
The family went through “years of medical wandering” in their hometown of Quebec, before finally getting an accurate diagnosis for Amélie in the United States. At that time, the disease was progressing without treatment.
The bacteria that causes Lyme disease can infiltrate the joints, heart and nervous system if the disease progresses. Long-term complications include Lyme arthritis, which may require surgery; Lyme carditis, an infection of the heart that causes fainting and palpitations; and generalized nervous system dysfunction, including severe headache, tingling, and facial paralysis.
“Over time, Lyme basically hijacked it [sic]”, Champagne’s father wrote. “She was so brave through this ordeal… She decided to free herself from the unbearable pain.”
Although Amélie’s father did not elaborate on her physical symptoms, he said she continued to show resilience and optimism despite her pain. She persevered throughout her studies and volunteered at a center for handicapped children and at a nearby homeless shelter.
In the wake of Amélie’s death, her family and friends are leaning on each other for support, Champagne wrote in the post.
“We will love you forever and cherish every memory of our wonderful time together. You have made us better people. Now it’s up to us to rise to the challenge.”
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