Twins on a Mission

If you have had the privilege to meet Whitney, my twin sister, you know that she is brave, beautiful and amazingly strong. She always puts the happiness of others before herself even though she has been fighting chronic Lyme disease since 2014.

We think she was infected in 2011 from a tick bite in western Michigan and really started being impacted by the illness in 2014. She was healthy, strong, and training for a half marathon. Within a time span of a few short days, she could barely walk without gasping for air, had severe back pain, was crushingly tired, and was experiencing what we later learned was brain fog.

After a year of multiple doctors, tests, and misdiagnosis, she finally visited an acupuncturist who took the time to listen to her symptoms, how they progressed, and what her life looked like during the previous year. She found that Whitney had severe adrenal fatigue and recommended she find a doctor to test for the cause, specifically looking for infections, parasites, or bacteria. In July of 2015, she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, Babesia, and Anaplasmosis.

Up until this point, my family and I had really no clue what Lyme disease was, how you got it, or how it was treated. The past two years we have learned more than we ever thought we would know about ticks and tick-borne illnesses while watching her navigate this crazy disease and fight for her health. After starting treatment, it became clear that managing a chronic illness like Lyme Disease can easily be a full-time job. Her doctor relied on her symptom tracking and verbal recollection of diet, lifestyle, and other factors to inform her treatment decisions.

Looking for a way to help, I entered the first ever innovation hackathon sponsored by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. During the competition, I met Dr. Sunjya Schweig who had the same goal of taking crucial health data off of personal journals, desktop calendars, and paper surveys and onto a robust symptom and treatment tracking platform. We interviewed over 200 people living with chronic Lyme Disease, doctors treating patients, and health researchers who all stated that data is the most immediate need for diagnosing and treating patients with tick-borne infections. This led us to found Clymb Health.

Our work and team have evolved over the past year but we have held strong to our goal of helping people with chronic disease manage their lives and get back to health. We hope you'll join us on this journey!

Shannon Herline