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Ally Hilfiger was seven, or possibly eight, when she was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease. For over a decade she suffered from physical symptoms including joint pain, night sweats, memory loss and nausea that none of the countless doctors she saw could explain or diagnose. Meanwhile, she was self-medicating and acting out, facilitating a whole other host of issues. In her new book, Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me, Ally thoughtfully recalls her journey. Part memoir, part cautionary tale, her story is one of a spirited survivor. “I’m incredibly proud of my daughter,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “This book is a testament to her giving nature and is a gift of hope for those who suffer from Lyme disease and to anyone who has ever overcome a challenge, whatever it may be.” Here, Ally talks about the book and recommends some summer reads to suit every mood.

It was important to me that people understand more about Lyme disease because...

It is so misunderstood and has a lot of confusing symptoms; also hundreds of thousands of Americans and people around the world are infected with it.

The greatest lesson I learned from this very long journey is...

Never give up! If you keep your mind’s eye is focused on your goal, you can get through anything. We are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

Having a young daughter who loves being outdoors, your rules of thumb to safeguard against ticks are?

Spray her down along with anyone else who’s outside, wear long light colored clothing, then check, check, and check again for ticks when you come inside. You can visit PROJECTLYME.ORG for additional information on prevention, how to do a tick check and removal tips.

You are on the board of the Global Lyme Alliance. How is the organization making a difference to the community? What are your goals?

GLOBAL LYME ALLIANCE is making huge strides in bringing more accurate tests to diagnose this disease to the market and spreading awareness. Our goal is put Lyme disease out of business.

ALLY’S SUMMER READ RECOMMENDATIONS:

For kids:

BLUE AND OTHER COLORS: WITH HENRI MATISSE

This lovely board book, suitable for ages 0-3, begins with the color blue and goes on to show it paired with a rainbow of hues using the work of the great French artist Henri Matisse to illustrate.

Ally says: My daughter Harley is very visual so this was a treat for her!

For sentimental fools:

EAT PRAY LOVE MADE ME DO IT: JOURNEYS INSPIRED BY THE BESTSELLING MEMOIR

With an introduction by Elizabeth Gilbert, readers are swept into the funny, sometimes heartbreaking and always inspiring stories of nearly 50 fans of the original book as they chart their own courses of self-discovery.

Ally says: Women taking their happiness and fulfillment into their own hands, what’s not to love.

For brain food:

THE CODE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MIND: 10 UNCONVENTIONAL LAWS TO REDEFINE YOUR LIFE AND SUCCEED ON YOUR OWN TERMS

In his first book, the founder of Mindvalley and sought-after motivational speaker presents a game plan for breaking free from conventional ideas and creating your own rules for living.

Ally says: Being open to different viewpoints is always a good thing.

For intrigue:

THE GIRLS

Cline crafts a stirring portrait of two young women caught up in the world of a Manson-ish cult during the summer of 1967, exploring the seductive nature of acceptance and obsession.

Ally says: The author won the Plimpton Prize for Fiction in 2014. It’s a great read.

For adventure:

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

A mesmerizing biography of Betty Pack, the beautiful American debutante who became an Allied spy for Britain’s MI-6 and then the United State’s OSS during World War II.

Ally says: The original girl power. Enough said.


Bite Me book cover photographed by Karen Bernard, courtesy of Center Street. Still photo by SETH DINNERMAN for the Tommy Blog.

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