For the first time, Alec Baldwin is detailing his painful struggles with Lyme disease, joining other celebrities, including Bella Hadid and Avril Lavigne, in admitting just how much the tick-borne illness has harmed his health. Although Baldwin previously commented in 2011 that he suffered from a chronic form of the condition, he avoided any lengthy discussions of his health issue and had maintained his silence since then.
But although the actor initially was described as reluctant to discuss his struggles with Lyme disease, he finally agreed to open up. Consequently, Alec shifted from crooning “Hallelujah” on the season finale of Saturday Night Live to boarding a jet for California to make his first admission since that remark in 2011 about suffering from Lyme disease, reported MSN.
“They had me hiding in the bushes over there at a Lyme disease benefit,” joked Baldwin when he stepped on stage at a benefit.
The event that motivated Alec to finally end his silence was for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation LymeAid benefit for research, held at a private home in California.
“I have ticks all over me. I’m joking.”
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Executive Director Linda Giampa revealed that she had been attempting to get the reluctant actor to attend the event for years. Although Baldwin agreed last year, his participation in the season finale of SNL almost delayed his confession again. But on May 21, Alec made his appearance at last, breaking his silence to speak out about his health crisis.
Spread by infected ticks, Lyme disease can cause a wide range of symptoms. Consequently, some individuals can face challenges in getting the correct diagnosis, and Alec’s description of his struggles included the challenges prior to being diagnosed.
“We had already sold out the event for 350 people on that night when I was told. I asked if he would do it the next night and he graciously agreed,” commented Giampa. “[Baldwin] just felt the time was right to talk about it.”
Even before he was correctly diagnosed, Alec revealed that he thought he was suffering from chronic Lyme disease. After Baldwin was bitten about 17 years ago, he received a shot. But then, just a few years later, the actor was bitten again, and he described the sequence of symptoms.
“I got the classic Lyme disease [symptoms]…for five years… black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed.”
Baldwin noted that his first cycle of suffering was the worst, and he feels that his struggles have gradually eased. But he hasn’t forgotten just how terrifying that first experience felt.
“The first time was the worst of all,” Alec recalled. “I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease.'”
Baldwin emphasized that he truly believed that he would not live. Unmarried at the time after being divorced from his first wife, he recalled thinking that he hoped he would be discovered soon.
“And I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live,” stressed Alec. “I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife. I was…saying…, ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.'”
Beyond his own struggles, Baldwin worries about his children, revealing that both he and his wife Hilaria repeatedly check over their youngsters to look for any signs of tick bites. Although the actor wants his children to enjoy their lives, he views those checks as important.
“I want my kids to grow up riding horses and bikes and enjoying themselves every day and not have to spend every day with us going over them with a magnifying glass to make sure they don’t have any ticks on their body or their dogs, but that is part of the lifestyle of where I live,” pointed out Alec.
Known for his comedic timing, Baldwin didn’t stay serious for long, however. He added some humor with an impersonation of President Trump and a joke about New York being a Red State. And Alec had the perfect response to groans from the audience.
“I have Lyme disease. A little sympathy here.”
In all, the concert and benefit dinner and concert brought in more than $8 million, with all of the money targeted to fund research for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease ranks as the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an estimate that Lyme cases just in the Northeast alone have soared by more than 320 percent since 1991, according to Fox News.
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease, with bites from infected black-legged ticks carrying the illness to humans. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of infected people experience a rash shaped like a bulls-eye at the bite site anywhere from three to 30 days after being bitten.
Antibiotics typically rank as the initial treatment for affected patients. But because symptoms can range from fatigue to headaches, diagnosis can be challenging. An increasing number of celebrities, such as Alec, have gone public with their personal Lyme disease journeys to raise awareness.
Among those stars are Avril Lavigne, Yolanda Hadid and her daughter Bella Hadid, George W. Bush, and Night at the Museum star Ben Stiller. As the Inquisitr reported, Mary-Kate Olsen’s twin, Ashley Olsen, reportedly suffers from Lyme disease, but she has not confirmed the rumors.
[Featured Image by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images]