A Concord tattoo artist is planning a marathon day at his downtown shop Saturday, when all the proceeds from a slate of bright green designs will go to benefit Lyme disease research.
Scott Flanders, the owner of Capital City Tattoo, said he’s not sure exactly how many human canvasses he should expect. But if the event is anything like his Friday the 13th specials, it could be in the hundreds.
On those superstitious holidays, eight tattoo artists ink a pre-designed set of drawings for $13 or $31 apiece from 10 a.m. till 2 or 3 in the morning. “We cap out at like 350 people,” Flanders said. “That’s cranking like nonstop.”
Capital City Tattoo has prepared a similar setup for the 10 a.m.-to-10 p.m. event Saturday, featuring $20 designs related to Lyme disease, such as ticks, bull’s-eyes and lime-green ribbons. Flanders said the tattoos are for people who have been personally or indirectly affected by the tick-borne illness and want to bring awareness to the toll it takes.
All proceeds that come in go right to the nonprofit Lyme Warrior, he said. “Nobody’s keeping anything. I’m paying for all the supplies, and I asked the artists if they wanted anything, and they said no, they’re all set.”
The 8 N. Main St. shop is one of 27 locations nationwide participating during the month of February in a campaign called Ink to End Lyme, which seeks to bring awareness to the tick-borne disease and pay for research to improve treatment.
Although he has no personal connection to the disease, Flanders said he knew he wanted to participate as soon as he was contacted about the opportunity.
“The people that do have connections, they’re not so fortunate. They definitely suffer, and it goes unseen,” he said. “I’ve been researching it, and it’s not really a noticed thing.”
In fact, there’s some controversy in the medical community about the symptoms that some Lyme disease patients report long after they’ve been treated.
Some say their fatigue and joint pain is so powerful that it leaves them bedridden years after treatment, and a group of doctors is inclined to prescribe long-term antibiotics to fight what’s believed to be a residual bacterial infection. Dr. Richard Horowitz, who is one of two beneficiaries of the Ink to End Lyme campaign, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that ticks transmit other pathogens besides the Lyme-causing one that are responsible for continued symptoms.
“The existence of these co-infections – so-called because they are often transmitted along with Lyme disease – explain why some people with Lyme remain chronically ill even after treatment: while the Lyme is identified and treated, these other infections are not,” he wrote.
But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies haven’t shown that patients who received long courses of antibiotics do better in the long run than patients treated with a placebo. In some cases, long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been “associated with serious complications,” the federal public health agency wrote.
“The good news is that patients with (post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome) almost always get better with time; the bad news is that it can take months to feel completely well,” according to the CDC’s website.
For some patients who report years of suffering, that message is a source of frustration. A video posted on the Lyme Warrior website, called “Stop Silencing the Epidemic,” voices that frustration by saying the CDC’s position has led doctors to not recognize “chronic Lyme disease.”
“People do not believe Chronic Lyme Disease is real,” the video says. “We are suffering daily, waiting for a cure.”
The money raised Saturday in Concord will go to benefit doctors who believe in long-term antibiotic treatment. It will be split between Horowitz and Leslie Taylor, who is the author of “Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest,” according to the Lyme Warrior website.
Vehicle registrations down
The city won’t be able to process motor vehicle registrations between Friday and Tuesday, because the state is updating its computer system, so plan accordingly. For updates, visit www.nh.gov/dmv or call the city collections office at 225-8540.
(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)