From Avril Lavigne to Yolanda Hadid: Celebrities Who've Gone Public About Battling Lyme Disease

In her 2015 PEOPLE cover story, the singer revealed she had been battling Lyme disease for a year. “I had no idea a bug bite could do this,” said Lavigne, who believes she was bit by a tick in 2014. “I was bedridden for five months.”

In a 2019 PEOPLE story, Lavigne — whose foundation is working with various Lyme disease organizations to raise money and awareness for the cause — said she was feeling well. 

“It gave me a purpose,” she added of her journey, “and made me find myself all over again.”

“When you go through something like that, you realize how fulfilling simple things are — things I could do anymore, like being able to get up in the morning and go to the kitchen and grab a cup of coffee,” she added. “It taught me patience; it taught me being more present. That was a beautiful lesson.”

As a legend in the country music world, Twain kept vocal struggles under the radar so as to not worry her fans. Her singing voice — which she’s had to regain and retune from the damaging effects of dysphonia, the result of Lyme disease — is improving. “I was very scared for a little while that I wouldn’t sing again, ever,” she told PEOPLE. “I went through that moment, but I found a way. I found a way to do it.”

Using her voice to sing now, she says, requires lengthy warmups and physical therapy that’s “very, very difficult.”

While Gibson is finally achieving her dream of competing on season 25 of Dancing with the Stars, the singer admits her Lyme Disease will most likely make the experience a challenging one. “I can’t be cavalier with my body,” she told PEOPLE. “I can’t just push myself without thinking what what happens next. [Lyme Disease] can affect my stamina.”

But there’s a silver lining: after fighting the disease for four years, Gibson knows her physical strengths and weaknesses. “I’ve always been in tune with my body,” she said. “But the last few years have helped me learn where I can push my limits. I’m going to choose to think of that as an advantage!”

Baldwin took the stage as Master of Ceremonies at the Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s 2017 gala, LymeAid, where he got candid about his struggle with the illness. “I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live,” he said of his condition. “I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife. I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease,’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.’ “

Quite possibly the most prominent figure in advocating for Lyme disease awareness, the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star has spoken out about her diagnosis onstage, on social media and in her 2017 book, Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease

“This disease has brought me and many others to our knees, often wishing to die of utter hopelessness and exhaustion. Like I always say, you don’t get it until you get it,” she said at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala in 2016. “It’s hard for people to understand the invisible disability that owns our life especially behind the beautiful face that shines so bright on the covers of magazines.”

Yolanda Hadid’s kids, models Anwar and Bella, also suffer from the “invisible illness.” In her speech at the 2016 Global Lyme Alliance, Bella explained how her passion for horseback riding — and many aspects of her life — have been hindered because of her Lyme battle.

“It was my dream of my life and what I did every single day until I just stopped and realized I didn’t have the brain power to ride horses anymore, so that was the end of that,” Bella explained. “I know what it feels like to not want to get out of bed from bone pains and exhaustion and days on end of not wanting to socialize or be around people because the anxiety and brain fog just isn’t worth it. After years of this, you begin to get used to living with the sickness, instead of getting cured and moving on with your life.”

The actor was first diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2010 — he suspects he contracted the illness on a trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts. “I’m symptom-free now,” Stiller told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, “but Lyme doesn’t ever leave your system. It’s a really tough thing.”

In 2004, the star attended dad Ozzy’s surprise 56th birthday party, which featured a reindeer sanctuary in the family’s backyard. During the event, Kelly was bitten by a tick, which would go on to suffer from an array of symptoms, including a sore throat and stomach pains. “I’ve learned to advocate for myself when it comes to my health, and I trust my intuition,” she wrote in her new memoir, There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters From a Badass Bitch. “If I think something is wrong, I refuse to let anyone dismiss it. And sadly, I stay the f— away from reindeer.”

“I was convinced that bugs were crawling in my body. I could feel them eating at my organs, my stomach and especially my brain,” Hilfiger wrote in her new book, Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me, speaking of first being diagnosed with Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick in 1992 at 7 years old.

“I wasn’t me anymore. I was a weakly projected image of myself on a wall, crying out for someone to help me and figure out what was wrong.”

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