Carson City girl helps 11-year-old with Lyme disease

Heidi Ryan (right) stands with her math tutor Megan Tingle. Tingle has been collecting donations from the community for Ryan to go see a Lyme disease specialist.

Heidi Ryan (right) stands with her math tutor Megan Tingle. Tingle has been collecting donations from the community for Ryan to go see a Lyme disease specialist.

One Carson High School student decided to pay it forward by starting a fundraiser for a sick child.

Heidi Ryan was in the fifth grade when she discovered she had contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite in January 2014. Within months, the disease degraded the 11-year-old’s body to the point where she couldn’t stand on her own in the mornings because her legs were too stiff and wouldn’t work.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused from bacteria found in infected ticks. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system causing pain and health problems. For Heidi, her joints would lock and she has developed arthritis. There are only about two to three hours a day where Heidi is nearly pain-free.

“There are certain hours a day where she is OK,” Holly Ryan, Heidi’s mom said. “But then something will always happen and she is in pain. It’s been a hard road.”

This disease has taken a toll on Heidi and her family. The once active girl who loved to play softball and dance now has to be carried down the stairs by her uncle because her legs and joints don’t work, and she has to use a walker to get around. Her family is also moving from their home to a one-story house because Heidi has difficulty going down the stairs. Because of the disease, Heidi has had to leave Carson Middle School and continue her education through a homebound program.

That was where she met Megan Tingle.

Megan is a sophomore at Carson High School and began tutoring Heidi at the beginning of the school year in math. The two became instant friends and that was when Megan found out Heidi needed help.

Heidi and her family need to raise $3,000 to take Heidi to a Lyme specialist in San Francisco. Heidi had been to doctors in Nevada, but none were able to help combat the Lyme disease, they were just able to try to help her with the symptoms.

“She is an amazing child, she is so happy and mature,” Holly said. “Heidi just wants to go back to school and the only person that can help her with that is the specialist.”

It was then Megan and her mother Sheryl Tingle decided Megan should help raise money for Heidi to go to a specialist. Megan is a National History Day participant and has been raising money for her trip to Washington, D.C. Megan received additional funding from a friend who’s also going on the trip, so she decided to use the extra funds and pay it forward as her friend had done for her. Megan decided to take $100 of her fundraiser money and start a donation account at Wells Fargo for Heidi.

“If she was able to go to this specialist, it would mean a lot because she really needs it,” Megan said. “I don’t want her to have this disease and if it can be avoided (by her seeing the specialist) then why not avoid it? She is so smart and a wonderful girl. Heidi is so young, she deserves this (money).”

“She is my friend and I feel for her and her family because I know how hard it can be and I can’t even imagine not being able to go to school,” Megan added. “God blessed us with this opportunity to help out.”

In addition to the bank account, Megan and her mom have set up donation jars around Carson City in places like Grocery Outlet, the Twisted Spoke and GameCozy. Sheryl said they have raised close to $600.

“I think that everyone can put themselves in this position and to see a child not be able to do everyday acts and for her not to have a normal childhood is a huge roadblock,” Sheryl said. “If everyone helped, we could make her way of life so much better. It is such a worthy cause to change a little girl’s life.”

To donate to Heidi visit a Wells Fargo bank and tell them the donation is for Hope for Heidi with the account number 2295547844; go online to; or visit any location above to donate to the Hope for Heidi jars.


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