NORTHAMPTON – With the hope of providing resources and services to people living with Lyme disease, Maria Malaguti has launched a new nonprofit, the Lyme Disease Resource Center Inc.
Malaguti, the founder and executive director of the organization, incorporated in October 2013 and is now finalizing details with the hope of opening a center by this summer. Her vision is that the center will offer resources, free activities, support groups, complementary therapies and workshops on the issues surrounding tick-borne illness.
The center will serve those with tick-borne illness and their caregivers.
Malaguti is seeking to expand her seven-member board of directors, and so is in search of volunteers with an interest in the field. She is also seeking volunteers to staff the center. In-kind and monetary donations are welcome but are not tax-deductible at this time.
Malaguti contracted Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, in 1997, but her disabling symptoms went undiagnosed for a year. She had developed a graphic design business out of her home, but the disease, and helping others who were newly diagnosed, consumed her attention.
“I found myself volunteering, and people would ask me, ‘Can you help me? I don’t know who to contact to get help with housing or my medical care,’ and I’d direct them to the right organizations and share my story, which is a benefit to Lyme patients who can feel isolated,” she said.
Malaguti has a certificate in nonprofit management, a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Marlboro College and its graduate program in Vermont and over 17 years of personal experience navigating the healthcare and government benefit systems.
The Lyme Disease Resource Center, Inc. is a nonprofit in the state of Massachusetts and is in the process of applying for federal 501c3 tax-exempt status.
Currently on the board are: Malaguti; Dr. Josephine Burnett, a life coach, serving as secretary; Jessi Kirley, manager in the office of Dr. Charles Brummer, treasurer; Dr. Charles Brummer, a local physician; David Marshall, a software engineer; Kim Ovrutsky, a health advocate; Trevor Smith, a recreation therapist; and Paris Finley, retired information systems director at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
According to the organization’s website, “Ideal board candidates will have commitment, savvy diplomatic skills, integrity and a passion for improving the lives of people affected by tick-borne illness.”
For more information, visit www.lymedrc.org
or contact Maria Malaguti at 588-7388 or firstname.lastname@example.org