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Amelia Islander

Meet Lori Hoerl, Founder of Florida Lyme Advocacy

Sep 30, 2016 02:00AM
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Lori Hoerl moved to Bronxville, New York after high school to attend Concordia College where she studied English Composition and Music Performance, with a focus on Opera. After graduating college, Hoerl moved into New York City to pursue a career as a professional singer, actor and dancer.

After ten years of working in regional theatre, off-Broadway, cabaret, and independent feature films, Lori re-located to Florida to pursue a life by the water. Shortly after moving to Fernandina Beach, Lori was bitten by a tick while hiking on Cumberland Island, Georgia, and was infected with Lyme disease. After nearly two and half years of misdiagnoses and as many as 22 doctors unable to properly diagnose her, Hoerl finally found a national expert in treating what had progressed to later-stage Lyme disease, but not before becoming disabled from nerve damage and other multi-system complications.

During her recovery, Hoerl realized the epidemic numbers of Lyme-infected patients in Florida, alone, going without proper diagnosis, being denied life-saving treatments, and losing their homes, their health, and their life savings to a once highly treatable disease; some even their lives. A greater part of Lori’s first ten years in Florida were spent not only navigating the politics of Lyme disease, but founding Florida Lyme Advocacy, a non-profit focused on legislative advocacy and providing Lyme disease patients with resources to find the right doctors, avoid the wrong doctors, and navigate a medical system politically charged and divided in their willingness to accurately diagnose and properly treat Lyme disease in the time frame and to the measure necessary to save patients’ lives.

As Founder and Director of Florida Lyme Advocacy, Hoerl successfully co-drafted and filed Florida’s first-ever Lyme disease legislation focused on doctor protection for treating patients to the extent necessary to properly address the potential of the disease organism and insurance mandates requiring insurance companies pay for what the clinical experts deem necessary, not what was most affordable for insurance companies. Hoerl managed to get the bill through six committees in the first session before the bill, not surprisingly, died in the insurance committee.

In more recent years, as Hoerl has regained physical health, she has worked in a variety of roles and industries including serving as the Marketing Director and First Mate for Amelia River Cruises, while earning her 50 Ton Master’s Inland license, with additional maritime endorsements that include GMDSS, AB Special, and STCW credentials. Additional experience includes roles as the Director of Sales, Marketing and Communications for David Corey Company, a national home modifications provider for the Workers Compensation industry, specifically injured workers, Sales Assistant to the top sales team for NetJets, a Warren Buffet Company, as well as her current role as the Executive Director of Nassau County Volunteer Center.

Additional maritime experience includes work aboard the St. Johns River Ferry, as a nature and wildlife tour guide and captain around Jacksonville Beach and St. Augustine, as well as a temporary gig as a relief captain operating the Pilot Boat out of the Port of Fernandina.