Turning Point

By: Maisie Plew


For most, a bee sting is something to avoid at all costs but for Deb Elder it is all thanks to a bee sting that she is healthy and happy once again. Deb whips up a fresh batch of pollen patties in the kitchen of her home in Eugene, OR for four hungry honey bee hives in her own backyard. These hives help contribute to Elder’s personal healthcare through Bee Venom Therapy (BVT). BVT uses bee stings to inject a bee’s venom into patients’ nervous systems in order to help treat chronic diseases and pathogens such as Lyme and Multiple Sclerosis.

Elder was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, after a work related accident in 1984 but believes the full collapse of her immune system occurred in 2012 when she was bitten by multiple mosquitoes during a camping trip. Most if not all of her fibromyalgia symptoms worsened the following year, inciting a series of cardiac complications. For years, Elder tried medically recommended treatments and pharmaceuticals to try to relieve symptoms like muscle pain, sleep loss, and cognitive issues but to no avail; she felt hopeless. All of that changed after Elder’s friend called to tell her that she may have Lyme Disease and recommended she be tested for it. When the test came out positive, Elder finally felt she had a lead on a 30-year long investigation into her own health.

To her surprise, none of the doctors she had visited tested her for the disease prior to then nor provided adequate solutions to treating it. Elder began to do her own research for Lyme treatments and found out about BVT through a Seattle doctor that used it to treat his own family. Since beginning BVT in 2014 she has felt up to an 80% increase in her functionality and health. “I think that honey bees are going to be the way to treat this global pandemic […]” Elder says. “Bee venom kills all forms of bacteria and most viruses”. This miraculous recovery lead to her starting The Flippin Lyme Foundation whose purpose is to spread awareness of BVT and help provide locals with a successful and cost effective solution to pathogen healthcare. Marion Sassen from Lane County Beekeeping Association says  “She was always the smiling face at our meetings […]. We couldn’t have started [our hive] without her.”

Elder’s goals for the foundation include writing a book of her experience and setting up a mobile clinic to aid pathogen affected people living in poverty. “I tend to follow the rules that I believe in,” Elder says, and she is certainly following her own rules everyday through her passionate work helping others whose stories are just like her own.