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Teenager Creates App To Track Ticks And Fight Lyme Disease

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - A 13-year-old in Denver is making good on her pledge to battle Lyme disease.

Olivia Goodreau has developed an app to track and report disease-carrying ticks.

(credit: CBS)

Goodreau has been fighting Lyme disease since she was 6 years old. In 2016, she started the LivLyme Foundation that funds research and helps children with the disease pay for medication.

Her new app, called TickTracker, is designed to help others avoid the nasty parasites.

"I just didn't want to sit around and do nothing," Goodreau told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

TickTracker is a way to report and track tick sightings and bitings. It is Goodreau's high tech weapon in her very personal fight.

Olivia Goodreau (credit: CBS)

"I was losing my vision. My face was turning really pale, and sometimes I would feel like I had the flu," Goodreau said when interviewed by Walsh two years ago.

The teenager thinks she got a tick bite in Missouri in 2013. She said she saw 51 doctors before being diagnosed with Lyme disease. She was on many medications back then and now.

"I take 86 pills a day," she said.

She told Walsh she will have to continue that medication regimen until they find a cure or until her Lyme disease goes into remission.

TickTracker is free and designed to keep others safe. It opens to a map that shows green dots which are tick sightings. The app includes all of the United States and pictures of ticks.

"These are the most common ticks," Goodreau said.

CBS4's Kathy Walsh interviews Olivia Goodreau. (credit: CBS)

If you can identify the tick, you report it. Tips include how to safely remove a tick.

"In a perfect world there would be no ticks," she said.

She knows that's impossible, so she focuses on a world without Lyme disease. She hopes TickTracker gets more people talking about the disease and helps researchers find a cure.

The LivLyme Foundation is holding its big fundraiser on Saturday.

Goodreau says they hope to raise more than the $220,000 they took in last year. The event is sold out.

There is also a book signing with authors Dr. Richard Horowitz and Ally Hilfiger at the Sewall Ballroom lobby at the DCPA on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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