Star-studded event held in San Francisco to raise awareness about Lyme disease

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- At the 7th Annual Bay Area Lyme Disease Foundation dinner, actor and musician Jeff Bridges -- along with scientists and Lyme disease patients -- joined forces to raise awareness about the disease.

"A tough disease and it's often misdiagnosed," said actor and musician Jeff Bridges. "I have a dear friend, Kris Kristofferson, who 30 year ago was misdiagnosed and given all sort of medication and it turns out he had Lyme disease and didn't know it."

In the crowd was Kristen Stein, a Marin County resident who was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago. Stein takes 20 pills every morning to boost her immune system.

"It got in there and did a lot of damage. It had a lot of time to take its time to damage my neurological, and muscular and skeletal and it damaged all those areas," said Stein.

Medical experts says 60 percent of Lyme disease cases are misdiagnosed and some are even told they have the flu.

"Ticks are feeding on many different animals and they pick up different bacteria, viruses and pathogens and we think of them as natures dirty needle," said Dr. Sunjya Schweig from the California Center for Functional Medicine, "They'll pick up these pathogens from animal to animal and pass it to the next one. If the next happens to be a human."

The Bay Area Lyme Foundation is hoping to raise $1 million for testing in search for a cure.

"Tick test usually cost between $60- $200 to get a tick tested so we want to offer the public free tick testing," said Linda Giampa executive director for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Ticks can be found in moist areas the hot spots in the Bay Area are Mendocino and Marin Headlands. They are extremely small and can difficult to see, if you have been bit check with your primary doctor to get tested.

Here's more information on the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.
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