Imagine never feeling well and having doctors diagnose you with a different illness each time you sought help. Imagine health providers blaming your mental state for a disease that you would later discover had been the cause of your suffering all along. And then imagine realizing that your infection had been passed to your kids, and this particular disease is so not funded in Canada, making accurate diagnosis and treatment extremely limited. Such was the case with Tanis Michelsen, who has since become an advocate for the recognition and treatment of lyme disease. 

A mother of three who moved from Bermuda to Toronto so her eldest son Rian could pursue a successful acting career, Tanis realized very quickly that a lack of research and funding for lyme disease would effect the future of her family dramatically. Over the past two years, all five family members have been diagnosed with the disease. Tanis is a lyme crusader and caregiver to her family – remaining strong and hopeful while she battles the disease herself.

Battling Lyme Disease

In 18 year-old Rian’s case, Lyme disease has affected his brain, resulting in a host of neurological symptoms. He suffers from tremors, vertigo, headaches, joint pain and shortness of breath, throat constriction, severe brain fog and floaters in his vision.  These symptoms leave him unable to read, write, focus, walk, and at times, talk.  Over two years ago he had to stop attending school and was no longer able to appear in the TV shows on which he had been so successful as an actor. Rian spends a lot of time in the dark, recovering from any stimulation, which makes his symptoms so much worse.

We sat down with Tanis for a frank discussion the evening before she and her son traveled to the MediGreen Clinic in Germany to undergo autologous stem cell therapy in hopes that her son would be able to resume his daily activities. Because this disease is not well-researched, there are no treatments in Canada, nor does the government provide funding. A gofundme campaign was implemented to allow the treatment to take place, and as word spread, over $40,000 has been raised so far for Rian’s treatment. The treatment for just one child costs in excess of $45,000 and the Michelsen family has had little help so far in covering their never-ending expenses for treatment and activism. Last year alone they spent over $42,000 out of pocket to help cover expenses for the five family member suffering from lyme.

Here is the story of a family battling lyme disease, told by the wise and strong Tanis Michelsen.

Further Lyme Disease Reading and Support

To donate to Rian’s treatment expenses and to learn more about the gofundme campaign, please click here. Tanis also shares information, hope and strides on her Facebook page, Tanis and the Ticks.

For more information on the Michelsen’s journey visit:

For more information on Lyme Disease visit: