How Celebrity Yolanda Hadid Raised Awareness About Lyme Disease
By Lily Bender
Yolanda Hadid was a single, supermom of three children, the well-known models Gigi and Bella Hadid and their younger brother Anwar. Like most of our moms, she was busy driving her kids to sports, helping with homework, making Halloween costumes, cooking dinner, working and much more. Sitting still wasn’t something she did often. But then she got Lyme disease where her long days were spent lying in her bed and seeing doctor after doctor to figure out what was wrong and how to treat it. She also spent a lot of time traveling all over the world – from Florida to Germany to the Bahamas trying treatments that she hoped would cure her. Her daughters’ modeling careers were taking off, but Yolanda was too sick to travel to their many fashion shows. And, even when her girls walked the runway in a show just a few miles from her apartment in Los Angeles, she was too sick to go. This was devastating to her. At first, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her and it took more than a year to get diagnosed properly. But even when she was diagnosed, the cure wasn’t straight-forward or easy since there isn’t one cure for this disease.
It took years of trying various treatments and meeting with a lot of doctors and alternative health experts for Yolanda to get better and the whole time she promised herself that if she did get better, she’d help others who have Lyme disease. And she has. Although many famous people have Lyme, most don’t admit it publicly because they are afraid it will affect their careers. But Yolanda told her Lyme story to the world and raised awareness, at first on her TV show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This wasn’t easy since some of her castmates didn’t believe she was sick and claimed she was faking it. This was extremely frustrating to Yolanda because as she says, Lyme is an invisible disease where you don’t actually look sick but feel horrible. After her kids taught her how to use Instagram and set up her account, Yolanda began talking about Lyme and her treatments on social media, where she wasn’t shy about showing pictures of herself looking really sick and receiving treatments with needles and tubes sticking out of her. All of this brought awareness to a condition that wasn’t well known. Then, finally in her book Believe Me, which came out in the fall, Yolanda shared her entire, very personal Lyme journey with the goal of helping other people. She has also attended and spoken at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala for several years and has helped so many people who have contacted her because they are sick with Lyme, too.