In November 2017, the LDAA formed a board to further enhance our position as the peak body in Australia.
Our current Board Members:
Sharon Whiteman, President & CEO
Sharon has worked in the field of health and wellness for almost 40 years. She was an Intensive Care Unit nurse for 20 years and has run a business focussing on nutrition for a further 18 years. Sharon has been involved with the LDAA since its inception in 2009 and fulfilled the role of president 2013 – 2017. She took on the role of CEO for 2018 – 2021.
Sharon has 25 years experience leading teams of volunteers from all walks of life who have appreciated her calm manner, commitment to staff development and engaging style. Despite being a recovering patient herself, Sharon has been a tireless campaigner of justice for patients of Lyme disease and Lyme-like illness. She’s an endless source of inspiration for her team.
Maree Kratzer, Vice President
Maree is a recovering Lyme and CIRS patient and a naturopath with a passion for science. Her professional background includes training naturopathic students, designing and running a course in naturopathic medicine for home and family, running a private practice, and working in allied health with surgical, medical and chronically ill patients in hospitals.
Voluntary community work has always been an important part of Maree’s life. An active contributor to the community, she has served on management committees at both a local and a national level for many years. Maree became part of the community of Lyme and mould-affected patients some years ago and was inspired by the LDAA’s professionalism and compassionate patient advocacy. Now, after having served as a volunteer since 2017 and on the Board for the past 4 years, she is more committed than ever.
Ann-Maree van Dalen, Secretary
Ann-Maree has worked in education for over 30 years, primarily in her favoured area of special education. She has worked internationally as a teacher, teacher-in-charge of a Special Education Developmental Unit and an Assistant Director of a Child Care Centre. A dedicated and active member of the community, Ann-Maree was also a kinship carer as part of Foster Care Queensland and has been a secretary and member of her children’s kindergarten committees.
Ann-Maree attributes the diagnosis and successful treatment of her daughter’s Lyme to the LDAA’s guidance. As a result, she has volunteered with us since 2014 and been LDAA secretary since 2017. As a mother and special education teacher, Ann-Maree is committed to communication, organisation and teamwork.
Gillian Wood, Treasurer
Gillian is a dedicated and detail-orientated professional and an ACCA qualified accountant. She worked in the field of accounting for 16 years until becoming a full time mum to two young girls.
Also being the Treasurer of their school P&C, Gillian is passionate about giving back to the community. Her association with the LDAA arose from her friendship with fellow board member, Shazzy Tharby.
Gillian witnessed the significant impact of the disease first hand and committed to help in any small way that she could.
Gillian is keenly organised, a strong collaborator and loves to work within a team framework. She’s looking forward to partnering within the board to ensure LDAA financial systems are ready for future action on behalf of sick Australians.
Anne O’Connor, Board Member
Anne O’Connor is a psychologist, consultant, and mindfulness teacher with 25 years’ experience in public and private settings and expertise in the For-Purpose sector. After an early career in organisational consulting Anne’s work has been dedicated to strengthening the capacity of social justice organisations, and to advancing the rights of vulnerable communities such as: people seeking asylum; First Nations communities; and people living with chronic illness.
Anne has worked as a practitioner and supervisor and has specialist knowledge in trauma, including medical trauma. She has held several senior organisational positions and currently works in private consulting practice offering psychotherapy, supervision, and coaching; organisational projects and group work; and mindfulness training. Anne is a qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction [MBSR] teacher.
Anne’s work is grounded in the lived experiences of clients, and she takes a rights-based, feminist position on practice. She is interested in ethical health care that acknowledge the systems and structures impacting on wellbeing and respects the many intersections of people’s lives.
Anne is recovering from Lyme disease and was misdiagnosed for 21 years. She has an interest in patient rights, the psychological effects of living with chronic illness, and the impacts of the current situation on the Lyme community of Australia.
Dobrusia Szramowiak, Board Member
Dobrusia Szramowiak is a qualified naturopath and lymph and organ drainage practitioner, passionate about helping people with chronic complex health issues.
She began her professional career as a chemical engineer. After 12 years working with chemicals, her health has collapsed from a toxic overload.
This brought up her previously dormant Lyme disease she contracted in Poland as a child. In addition to this, she developed sensitivity to mould, chemicals and MCAS.
Due to lack of awareness and understanding among medical practitioners in Australia, she spent over ten years searching for answers and effective ways to heal. She understands suffering, frustration and helplessness associated with this process. Now she would like to offer her support to those who suffer from Lyme and other complex conditions by empowering them with knowledge and hope by conducting monthly sessions for the LDAA called ‘Ask the Naturopath’.
Brit Ballard, Board Member
Brit joined the LDAA in April 2021 but has been a Lyme survivor and warrior since 2007. She trained and worked in the health and wellness industry early in her working life, however her primary career, her degree and most other tertiary qualifications are in the area of environment and sustainability. Having worked in this sector of local government for over a decade, she has seen first-hand how politics affect policy development, as well as the challenges of incorporating new science and ethics into a deeply ingrained modus operandi.
Brit has also trained in community-based social marketing, social media and web design and has built a solid knowledge, experience and skill base in this area. She has natural and certified skills in project management and has led multidisciplinary committees and managed events. Brit is a strategic thinker, is motivated to work toward positive change in the world (and herself) and against injustice. In particular, she would like to contribute meaningfully to the alleviation of suffering of the planet and its biodiversity, including humans!
Shazzy Tharby, Board Member
Shazzy has volunteered in the disability sector since 1996. They studied at Cambridge University and is a Registered Nurse and a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse. Currently, Shazzy works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant, Counselling Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor in their own private practice, Positively Living, and is undertaking a Master’s in Counselling and Psychotherapy, although may soon stop studying due to the nature of the illness.
Shazzy is married to Alex with two young children. They are an active advocate for mental health, disability and neurodivergent rights, and an LGBTQIA2S+ ally. With a focus centering on marginal and silenced voices through an intersectionality lens, Shazzy sees Lyme patients entirely fitting within this group, and would like to see this change for the future of those with Lyme disease and our children.
Having worked on various committees and co-design projects, Shazzy currently sits on the board for People With Disabilities WA, is an Intersectional Advisory Committee member for Reframing Autism and a member of the Volunteering WA Disability Advisory group.
Shazzy has been an award-winning mentor, and a motivational speaker and trainer delivering inspiration and leadership to businesses and conferences across the globe. Shazzy would love nothing better than to see Lyme disease taken seriously by the government and health professionals in Australia and for the necessary changes to be made to help educate professionals for the understanding needed to adequately support Lyme patients.
View the LDAA Constitution
Copyright Lyme Disease Association of Australia