Tag Archives: Kasey Passen

peer-to-peer support_kasey passen

Peer-to-Peer Support: A Personal Passion and Mission

GLA launched its Peer-to-Peer Mentor Support program in June 2019. The inspiration for this important program was our friend Kasey Passen.


When Kasey Passen, a Chicago chef and nutrition expert, contacted Global Lyme Alliance’s CEO Scott Santarella with an idea three years ago, she had no idea of the positive impact she would ultimately have for many Lyme disease sufferers.

Kasey, who lost her battle with Lyme disease last year, wanted to raise awareness about the illness and introduce GLA to Chicago. She also spoke about her desire to eventually create for Lyme patients what her friend Jimmy Imerman had created with Imerman Angels, his one-on-one support nonprofit for those dealing with cancer.

kasey passenIn March 2017, thanks to Kasey, GLA held a highly successful education and cultivation event to raise awareness about Lyme disease in and around Chicago (Kasey, pictured at the first event with GLA’s Scott Santarella). Not five months later, she and three other Lyme warriors put together the first of what has become our hugely successful annual SubLyme Soirée event there.

But Kasey wanted to do something more. Before Kasey left us she spoke again with Scott about establishing a peer-to-peer network for Lyme patients. Kasey understood better than anyone that the Lyme journey is often a lonely one, even when you have a support system.

Sharing your story with a fellow patient and in turn receiving support and understanding is for many an essential part of battling this insidious disease. After Kasey passed, Scott made a promise to make Kasey’s dream—her legacy—come true.

We are therefore proud to say that in June of this year GLA launched the Peer-to-Peer Network in Kasey’s honor, modeling it after Imerman Angels. The Peer-to-Peer Network matches Lyme patients, caregivers and family members with trained Lyme mentors who have had the disease, who will provide one-on-one emotional and practical support and, thus, hope.

We thank Kasey for her idea, her passion, her understanding of the real power of compassion as it impacts the lives of those touched by Lyme disease.


fundraiser kendra scott

FUNDRAISER: Kendra Scott in Chicago

Due to the generosity of Kendra Scott, the Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) community is invited to come together to socialize and shop for a cause: 25% of proceeds from our event will be donated to GLA. During the two hour event, guests can expect champagne, gluten-free desserts, and appetizers.

Kendra Scott will be releasing a custom, limited edition Lyme Warrior necklace, honoring Kasey Passen on December 7th. Keeping Kasey’s legacy alive in the Lyme community is incredibly important to us, and we shall honor her in our work.

Date: December 7, 2018
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: Kendra Scott, 3426 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
RSVP: [email protected]

If you are unable to attend, please call 708-669-0230 anytime on December 7 to place an order that counts toward the donation.


by Scott Santarella, CEO of Global Lyme Alliance

Kasey Passen was driven to help others in the fight against Lyme disease

Some people have dreams about changing people’s lives but, through no fault of their own, never have an opportunity to carry them out. By contrast, Kasey Lynn Passen, 37, filled with love and the power for doing good, was determined to make people aware of the escalating incidence of Lyme disease in Chicago and outlying areas. Her passion stemmed from her own experiences with the disease and her wish to prevent others from going through the suffering she had. “Too many people are unaware of the risks they face,” she said.

Sadly, the disease took her life yesterday, September 4. We at Global Lyme Alliance condole with Kasey’s family and friends on the passing of such a vibrant, creative and loving individual.

Scott Santarella with Kasey Passen at their first Chicago GLA Event: An Evening of Art and Education

I met Kasey a few weeks into my tenure as CEO of Global Lyme Alliance. We discussed her desire to hold an event in Chicago to raise money and awareness for tick-borne diseases. GLA had never done an event in the midwest before, but Kasey made that conversation a reality— first with an “Evening of Art and Education”in March 2017, followed by the highly successful “Sublyme Soirée” fundraiser later that summer.


Kasey Passen speaking with co-chair Alex Moresco at the 1st Annual Sublyme Soirée

Thanks to the incredible efforts of Kasey and her fellow committee members, the second annual Sublyme Soirée was held two weeks ago. It was an huge success attended by 300 individuals who enjoyed healthy food (another of Kasey’s passions) while also receiving crucial information about the risk, symptoms and prevention of Lyme disease and other transmitted co-infections.

2nd Annual SubLyme Soirée co-chairs with GLA Staff and special guests, Jesse Ruben and Erin Walker

Kasey once told me she suspected that she had suffered for many years before being accurately diagnosed, but had been told that her full body pains were due to fibromyalgia. Despite this “diagnosis,” she felt progressively worse, suffering from extreme exhaustion, alarming night sweats and cognitive problems such as brain fog and severe headaches. She sought medical help, but with very few Lyme-literate doctors in Chicago, she was only diagnosed about three years ago.

“It took me a long time to find answers to my own health questions,” Kasey said. “My hope is to spread awareness and education of Lyme so that people will be able to recognize the common signs of symptoms and know the right questions to ask their doctors. Lyme is very misunderstood by the medical community and we must advocate to get the right diagnostic tests and treatments.”

Kasey Passen and Family

With the tragic loss of Kasey Passen, GLA finds further motivation to cure Lyme disease and reduce the collective suffering. We can never replace such a zealous and compassionate member of Team GLA, but let’s hope Kasey’s stellar example will be emulated by others with their own tales of Lyme to tell.