In 2006, while living in Kenya, Lynnette took care of an orphan boy who developed TB. It wasn’t her first encounter with the disease. Her own brother had died of TB in 1998.

Because her brother had been shunned and discriminated against by extended family and community during his illness, Lynnette became a fierce advocate for the orphan boy, demonstrating to the community that she would care for – not discriminate against – this child. Although she, her daughter, and son spent the next three years with him, only Lynnette and her daughter were diagnosed with latent TB years later while living in Snohomish County. Upon her and her daughter's latent TB diagnosis in 2012, Lynnette realized she again needed to be a role model, this time for her daughter.  She faithfully took the TB medication for nine months, despite some side effects, and all the while encouraged her daughter through her treatment.  Lynnette is grateful for being correctly diagnosed and for the treatment she easily accessed in Washington State.

In Lynnette's words...

Growing up, from what I know about TB, it is a disease where people are discriminated. I have seen the discrimination in my own family.

In Kenya, people will wait a long time before they go to a doctor. That is not healthy, and that is what happened to my brother. My parents did not take him to a doctor until it was too late. But here in the U.S., you can have a friendship with your doctor. Your doctor will take care of you. TB is curable. The more you wait, the harder it is going to be, so the best thing is just get the medication. Get it done with and go on with your life.

For the people who are taking care of people who have TB, all they need is that support. Not much, just check on how they are doing. Have you taken your medication? How are you feeling? Just be there for them. TB is just a disease like any other. The one good thing about it is it is treatable.

Lynnette, Snohomish County