Tick Squad forms in Sussex County
Vernon. Four citizens have formed a task force and support group about ticks and tick-borne illnesses.


PHOTO BY JANET REDYKEThe Tick Squad is ready to take the bite out of Lyme disease through prevention and education. From left are Marty Theys, John and Liz Celmer and Doreen Edwards.
By Janet Redyke

It’s the warm season again in Sussex County when everything seems its best and freshest. However, an ever-present menace is also back operating in full capacity — various types of ticks getting ready to inflict various types of tick-borne diseases.
Four citizens have formed a taskforce as well as a support group about ticks and tick-borne illnesses. The group is called The Tick Squad and each member either has Lyme disease or one of the 11 tick-borne forms or has a family member who is struggling. The dedicated members are John and Liz Celmer, Doreen Edwards and Marty Theys. All four are steadfast in raising awareness of the epidemic proportion of tick-borne infirmities that affect 14 eastern states, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania of course included. The squad firmly believes that education, awareness, research and advocacy can be achieved through presentations which have been initiated so far at the YMCA- Hardyston and Sussex County Community College.
May has been officially proclaimed Lyme Disease Awareness Month by NJ Freeholder Director Herbert Yardley. Vernon Township is also observing the month as Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
It is a known fact that one out of every 30 Sussex County residents will be infected with tick-borne diseases. High risks are usually children from the age of five to 14 because of outdoor contact and seniors 60 to 70 because of compromised immune systems. The disease itself is referred to as “The Great Imitator” because it can mimic about 300 other diseases like lupus, Parkinson’s, dementia and joint diseases, to name a few. Some people that suffer with Lyme and tick-borne diseases are Alec Baldwin, former President George W. Bush, singers Avril Lavigne and Kris Kristofferson.
Tick Squad member Marty Theys stressed prevention by being observant after being outdoors. Checking for ticks, bathing or showering immediately and placing clothes immediately in the clothes dryer helps killing ticks.
“If you do find an embedded tick and can remove it, always have it tested to see if it carries diseases, said Tick Squad member John Celmer.
There are resources available to tick disease sufferers and their families. The Tick Squad offers The TBD Support Network hotline 201-213-4178 or email marty@embarqmail.com. Excellent information is also available on You Tube- Under Our Skin.
The Tick-Borne Disease Wellness Center opened on April 10 in Lords Valley, PA under the supervision of nurse practitioner Harriet Loizeaux and serves the tri-state area, 570-775-7100.
The Tick Squad has recently reached out to Senator Steve Oroho and Congressman Josh Gottheimer. The squad hopes the officials will be on board to help combat this horrendous epidemic affecting so many.