(BIVN) – A major conference on rat lugworm disease wrapped up at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel this week, and testifiers spoke about the event during the Hawaiʻi County Council meeting in Hilo.
The County of Hawaiʻi provided support for the 6th International Workshop on Angiostrongylus and Angiostrongyliasis, which was organized by the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy. The Council voted to provide additional support for the event Wednesday.
“Tomorrow is my one year anniversary of contracting this disease,” said Hawi-resident Mark LeRoy, who gave the opening presentation at the conference. “We learned that [his wife] Maya was pregnant within days of my diagnosis, and there were times during my acute phase then I thought I might die.”
“Just imagine that, for a moment,” LeRoy said. My wife is worried if I was gonna live long enough to see the birth of our first child.”
During the council meeting, Maya Parrish sat beside Mark holding their baby in her arms.
“We’re here listening to scientists and researchers from all around the world who know that this disease is both devastating and mysterious,” LeRoy testified. “We are going back after delivering testimony here to participate in a roundtable to discuss the future of addressing this terrible disease. The scientists here are working hard to learn more about this disease and to share evidence from around the world to ensure that more people like me don’t catch this.”
Rene Siracusa of Malama O Puna, one of the organizations supporting the workshop, also testified.
Big Island Video News will be producing a video on what was learned at the conference.