A 22-year-old has committed suicide after years of battling chronic Lyme disease, her father says in a heartbreaking LinkedIn post.

Amelie Champagne.Courtesy of Alain Champagne

  • Amélie Champagne, 22, killed herself this month after a battle with Lyme disease, her father said.

  • Lyme disease can infiltrate the joints, heart, and nervous system if left untreated.

  • Her father shared the news on LinkedIn: “She decided to free herself from the excruciating pain.”

Amélie Champagne, 22, struggled to find an explanation for her physical pain for years before she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in June 2021.

By then, the tick-borne bacteria had already caused severe damage to his brain. One Sunday in September, more than a year after her diagnosis, Champagne committed suicide.

Her father, Alain, outgoing chairman of Canadian drugstore chain Jean Coutu Group, recently shared the news in a touching LinkedIn post.

“It is with the deepest of hearts (and still in shock) that I share the tragic news that our beloved Amélie (22) took her own life last Sunday,” he wrote last week.

She is survived by Alain, along with her mother Joanne, her brother Mathieu and her boyfriend Nic, according to the publication.

Lyme disease can cause a number of physical symptoms including joint pain, muscle aches, and chronic fatigue. Most cases resolve with a few weeks of antibiotics, but the disease can progress if left untreated.

“Over time and despite recent treatments, the disease had evolved far beyond the numerous physical symptoms and was now severely affecting his brain,” Alain Champagne wrote on LinkedIn.

‘Lyme essentially kidnapped her’

The Champagne family witnessed how challenging life with Lyme disease can be, Amélie’s father wrote in the post.

Early symptoms may include fever, aches, chills, headache and fatigue, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A telltale “bull’s-eye” rash usually appears about a week after the bite of an infected tick.

The family went through “years of medical errors” in their Quebec hometown, before finally getting an accurate diagnosis for Amélie in the US. In that time, the disease progressed without treatment.

The bacteria that cause Lyme disease can infiltrate the joints, heart, and nervous system if the disease is allowed to progress. Long-term complications include Lyme arthritis, which may require surgery; Lyme carditis, a heart infection that causes fainting and palpitations; and generalized nervous system dysfunction, including severe headaches, tingling, and facial paralysis.

“Over time, Lyme essentially kidnapped her [sic]”Champagne’s father wrote. “He was so brave during this ordeal… He decided to free himself from the excruciating pain.”

Although Amélie’s father did not specify her physical symptoms, he said that she continued to show resilience and optimism despite the pain. She persevered in her studies and volunteered at a center for disabled children and a nearby homeless shelter.

In the wake of Amélie’s death, her family and friends support each other, Champagne wrote in the post.

“We will love you forever and cherish every memory of our wonderful time together. You made us all better people. Now it’s up to us to rise to the challenge.”

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