NEW CANAAN, Conn. – New Canaan's Cameron Buzzeo is capitalizing on her love of field hockey to bring awareness to the dangers of Lyme disease in an event dubbed "Sticks Against Ticks."
Buzzeo, a board member with New Canaan Youth Field Hockey, is spearheading the first annual Daughters vs. Fathers Field Hockey Game. The event will be held Sunday, Sept. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Dunning Stadium.
The event was created to raise awareness of Lyme disease and to benefit research done by the Lyme Research Alliance.
"Lyme disease is a major problem in our beautiful community, but too many people are unaware of the risks they face," said Buzzeo, 34, the mother of 3-year-old twins and a 4-month-old.
"People think you only get Lyme if you go into the woods, so they let their kids run around in leaf piles where infected ticks can be found," she said. "Or they think they'll see a bulls-eye rash to alert them they've been bitten. But often that isn't the case."
Buzzeo's drive to raise awareness of Lyme in New Canaan stems from her own experiences with the illness. She was plagued with migraines, joint pain and fatigue while playing field hockey at New Canaan High School and serving as captain for their 1997-98 championship team. Her ailments continued into college, where she played field hockey at Bucknell University in the fall of 1999.
"My knees gave out, I suffered from extreme fatigue and a variety of cognitive problems such as an inability to mentally focus," she said. At one point, Buzzeo made the "heartbreaking" decision to stop playing field hockey and even thought about leaving college. "I didn't know what to do," she said. "I was begging for someone to diagnose me."
Buzzeo had never had a Western blot blood test to confirm a previous negative diagnosis for Lyme disease. It was only then that she learned she actually had Lyme and started undergoing treatment.
Buzzeo, whose husband, Chip, is head coach for boys lacrosse at New Canaan High School, says she hopes dads who have never played field hockey will take part in the event.
"This is the one and only all-girls sport in New Canaan so it will be exciting to get dads get involved."
The family friendly event will also have a raffle, bake sale, silent auction and fun prizes.
There is no fee to attend or play. T-shirts will be sold and donations to support Lyme research are welcomed.
For more information, visit the New Canaan Youth Field Hockey website here.
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