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Weston teacher relates battle with Lyme Disease

Exponent Telegram photo by Melissa Toothman Jena Whiston, an English and broadcasting teacher at Lewis County High School who is on medical leave because of Lyme disease, tells St. Patrick’s Elementary School students how they can help raise awareness and prevent the disease.
Exponent Telegram photo by Melissa Toothman
Jena Whiston, an English and broadcasting teacher at Lewis County High School who is on medical leave because of Lyme disease, tells St. Patrick’s Elementary School students how they can help raise awareness and prevent the disease.

WESTON, W.Va. — A tiny black tick, something sometimes too small to be noticed, is enough to change someone’s life, says Jena Whiston, a Lewis County High School English and broadcasting teacher who was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Whiston visited St. Patrick’s Elementary School Wednesday to educate third- through sixth-grade students about the disease and how it can be prevented.

“There are several reasons for my desire to raise awareness about Lyme disease, but the biggest is that people do not have to be as sick as I have been,” Whiston said. “Lyme isn’t a disease that you are predisposed to; it’s generally preventable.

“I think it’s critical that we educate people, making them aware that this can be a life-changing disease, and it deserves attention.”

Whiston said she doesn’t want kids to be afraid to play outside, but she does want them to take safety precautions before and after they go out — and not just for themselves, but for their parents as well.

“I also feel an overwhelming need for good to come of my struggles,” Whiston said. “I feel purposeful again when I’m advocating for Lyme awareness.”

She told the students about the Lyme Challenge…

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