The Great Falls Connection covered my presentation of House Joint Resolution 643, which permanently designates May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Virginia, to Sharon Rainey at the Keep Your Child Safe town hall meeting last week.
Great Falls Resident Sharon Rainey Receives Honors
Local businesswoman earns recognition for regional and statewide efforts.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Great Falls resident and businesswoman Sharon Rainey was recently recognized by Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34) for Rainey’s work in support of the permanent designation of May as Lyme Disease Safety Awareness Month in Virginia.
Comstock and the Fairfax County Safe Kids Coalition sponsored a community town hall meeting, on Tuesday, June 7, in Great Falls, at which Rainey spoke on the topic of Lyme disease. At the end of the child safety program, Comstock presented Rainey with a framed copy of House Joint Resolution No. 643, passed by the Virginia General Assembly during the 2011 legislative session. Comstock was a Patron of the House Resolution and of the annual resolution that predated the permanent designation.
This most recent honor followed Rainey being named a Northern Virginian of the Year in the June 2011, "Best of NoVA" issue of "Northern Virginia" magazine.
Rainey is also an author who writes about "Living with Lyme," on her blog, www.sharonlivingwithlyme.com.
In her first book, "Making a Pearl from the Grit of Life," [Great Falls, Virginia: Pinctada Publishing, 2011], Rainey writes that, at the age of 25, "I learned the importance of doing things one at a time; one minute at a time, one hour at a day, one day at a time," and that she later recognized that, "I do not need to see the final destination, I just need to know what my next move is." Her "path with an unknown destination," has taken her from assisting the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at Great Falls Elementary School with online communication, to founding an online network for the community of Great Falls, now known as myNeighborsNetwork.com. That path has taken Rainey from operating the network for the Great Falls community on a volunteer basis, to establishing it as a for-profit business that serves the greater Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
In nominating Rainey for the "Northern Virginia" magazine, "Northern Virginian of the Year" award, Great Falls resident Janet Jameson stated that, "[Rainey] has created a vehicle for all of us to link to each other for the greater good of Northern Virginia," and that, "A good neighbor is one of life’s great joys and Sharon has made a difference by bringing such joy into our communities and giving Northern Virginians a chance to be a good neighbor." Jameson also said that, "once you are a recipient, you want to give back."
Rainey also heads the Neighbors International Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation sponsored by myNeighborhoodNetwork.com. According to its website, the Foundation "brings together those in need with those who have the means and the time to offer a helping hand." The Great Falls Fourth of July Fireworks are supported and managed by the Neighbors Foundation. In addition, the Foundation is committed to, "Creating a network to provide comfort and support for chronically ill residents throughout our community," such as those who have been diagnosed with advanced, chronic Lyme disease like Rainey and the other members of her family.
The House Resolution permanently designates May as Lyme Disease Safety Awareness Month in Virginia, states that, "All Virginians should become educated and aware of the signs and symptoms, prevention tactics, and treatment of Lyme Disease." Rainey’s path has taken her from teaching middle school, to informing members of the community through her public speaking and her blog, and now, to writing another book, together with a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor, that she hopes will bring awareness to the public that Lyme disease does exist and that will bring hope for treatment to those who are suffering with the disease.